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.
As far as Fireground Assignment, or Activity at Time of Death, only one firefighter died in the search for victims. “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.
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, another during ice rescue training. 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, a second during the course of being on duty, not related to previous alarms of other acts, and the third a sudden illness during training.
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”
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.