The First 10

A look at the first 10 line of duty deaths in 2011.


With the death of Lutherville, Maryland volunteer firefighter Mark Falkenhan on 19 January, the U.S. fire service has reached 10 line of duty deaths within the first 19 days of the new year. Here is a synopsis of those deaths.

The average age is 49. The youngest firefighter to have died was 26 years of age; the oldest was 59. Six were volunteer firefighters, four were career firefighters. Two captains and two lieutenants were among the fallen, as far as victim rank.

Nature of Death was led by four “Unknown” reasons. Heart attacks (2) was second. Burns, Exposure, Other and Trauma each had one. “Stress/Overexertion” was the leader for Cause of Death with three. Among these, none were cardiovascular difficulties first diagnosed on the fireground. “Unknown” was also responsible for causing three other deaths. Caught/Trapped, Exposure, Other and Vehicle Collision each had one death. There was one death, involving victim ejection, where lack of seatbelt use has not been confirmed[1].

As far as Fireground Assignment, or Activity at Time of Death, only one firefighter died in the search for victims[2]. “Flashover” is also accounted for by this death. Two other deaths are listed as having occurred during “Fire Attack” however the details show the deaths occurred some time after the incident[3][4].

Three deaths are listed as having occurred during training. Both are linked to probable medical causes or unknown underlying reasons. One occurred during SCBA training[5], another during ice rescue training[6]. There was nothing reported that would lead one to believe that the training act itself is directly responsible for the cause of death. One death occurred during department fitness training.

Outside the identity of “traditional” line of duty deaths, three deaths occurred. One was during a treadmill stress test[7], a second during the course of being on duty, not related to previous alarms of other acts[8], and the third a sudden illness during training[9].

Two deaths have have been linked to the 11 September 2001 attack on New York City.

For more details and to follow the statistics see “Fire Service “Sabremetrics”

References
USFA 2011 Fatality Notices
“Mayday Declared During Baltimore County Apartment Fire; Firefighter Killed, Residents Injured” Firefighter Nation, 19 January 2011
“New Hampshire Firefighter Dies During Ice Rescue Training” Firefighter Nation, 17 January 2011
“New York Firefighter’s Death Investigated; Department Mourns First LODD” Firefighter Nation, 14 January

Photograph courtesy of author.





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2 Comments

  • Joyce Lopez says:

    God has been busy, may these brave men/women R.I.P.. God Bless those that they left behind and may the Good Lord grant them the peace they so rightfully deserve.

  • Jennifer says:

    The youngest firefighter that passed this year was about 10 minutes from where my boyfriend and I are volunteers at. Though I never had the oppertunity to meet this gentleman it still hits close to home and shatters our hearts. May he rest in peace and always be remembered. So to all my fellow volunteer and career men and women in the fire and emergency medical field may you always stay safe!

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Backstep Firefighter

“To provide a point of critical thought about certain acts and events in the fire service while incorporating behavioral education and commentary in a referenced format.”

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Comments
Jeff chandler
44.7 Percent
Very good explanation! I have been known to have the same rant.
2015-01-17 03:58:59
Anthony Correia
44.7 Percent
Dave i agree with your whole post. However the one thing I'm not experiencing or seeing is the over safetyifcation. While i hear words spoke about being safe when possible, but not sacrificing service for safety. If anything, i see firefighters more aggressive than when i started many years back due to the increased protection…
2015-01-14 14:37:28
Jon Newton
44.7 Percent
Well done. You make some awesome points. In regards to the "numbers".....(and kind of backing up your thought of changing tactics), we have often wondered why there is so much emphasis on RIT and the RIT/Industrial complex. I'm on Chicago and have worked in the Chicago Suburbs for almost 20 years. We've seen the advent…
2015-01-14 04:15:23
Marshall Sampietro
44.7 Percent
spot on....
2015-01-02 14:43:50
Ron Ayotte
44.7 Percent
“Over safetyification”... Dave, that is the best description of what those who want to prevent us from doing the job want to do to the job.
2014-12-31 16:29:29
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