It’s well-documented that line-of-duty death (LODD) rates have dropped among structural firefighters over the past decade. However, the same cannot be shown among wildland firefighters. Each year, approximately 19 wildland firefighters die in the line of duty, representing almost 20 percent of all firefighter line-of-duty deaths occurring in the U.S. annually.
The fire service must do more to reduce LODDs to see this change. To help in this effort, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) recently hosted 33 leaders in wildland firefighting disciplines for the first Wildland Fire Safety Strategy Meeting.
“Wildland fires are diverse, ranging from localized grass and brush fires to hundreds of acres of forests, which means nearly any fire department in any community across the country can be affected by these incidents,” explained Chief Ron Siarnicki, Executive Director of the NFFF. “Consequently, firefighters who are battling these events are exposed to a wide variety of risks that result in serious injuries and deaths.”
Over the course of four days, the group developed 10 recommendations to reduce wildland firefighter fatalities by 50 percent over the next decade. The full report is available here: http://1rxflr7bsmg1aa7h24arae91.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/06/WildlandPaper-FINAL.pdf We hope you will share this with your audience.
As the fire service remembers the 3rd anniversary of the Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 Prescott City Firefighters who were members of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots, we must do everything in our power to ensure that a similar tragedy doesn’t occur again. This meeting and the report are only the first step.