The Hard Surface Flowpath


Nine firefighters have lost their lives while on the road, to date, in 2014


Eight actually, if you don’t include the one who did not feel well and was found off the road in his private vehicle after an alarm.

Seven if you don’t include the Montana drivetrain failure.

See why it is important to go beyond the numbers in yearly reports?

The fire service and law enforcement community experienced the death of one if its members on Monday, 20 October 2014, when Alton, Missouri police officer and fire chief Eddie Johnson, Jr. was killed in a response crash. Local media reported that Johnson was en route to a fire in Royal Oak, six miles outside of Alton, when his police cruiser left the roadway and overturned several times.

Johnson was ejected. State police investigating the crash believe he was not wearing his seat belt.

Officer Down Memorial Page, the recording service in law enforcement similar to our USFA and NFFF, have listed Officer Johnson as the 83rd line of duty death for 2014. Fire Chief Johnson is the 68th on-duty death for the fire service this year. Compared to firefighting operations you have a greater chance of being killed in a vehicle crash than in a flashover. The probability is greater since you go out the door for more than fires.

Here are the USFA listed deaths involving vehicles for 2014 as of 21 October.

Volunteer: 9

Career: 0

Rank of Victims

Chief Officer: 5 Fire Chiefs
Line Officer: 1 Captain
Firefighter 3, including one also designated as a Chaplain

Average Age: 46

Oldest: 68
Youngest: 24

Department Vehicles: 6

POV or other vehicles: 1, during response; 1 found in POV after emergency incident; 1 police department vehicle

Response Type

Responding to Fire Call: 5
Responding to MVA: 2
Responding to EMS Call
Other: 1, returning from maintenance shop; 1 returning home after fire call;

USFA Incident Details

2: Driver lost control of vehicle
1: Vehicle crashed into other department vehicle
1: Vehicle hit ice, left roadway
1: Vehicle left roadway due to driver medical incident
2: Vehicle left roadway, overturned
1: Vehicle left roadway, struck tree
1: Mechanical failure contributed to collision

Ejected: 3

Source: United States Fire Administration 2014 Firefighter Fatality Data


 Below 100, for Law Enforcement

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BioPicBill Carey is the online public safety news and blog manager with PennWell Public Safety, or more specifically FireRescue Magazine/,, and Bill started in the fire service, as a third generation firefighter in 1986, on the eastern shore of Maryland and then continued after moving to Prince George’s County. He served as a volunteer sergeant and lieutenant at Hyattsville. Bill’s writing has been on, Fire Engineering, FireRescue Magazine,, the Jones and Bartlett 2010 edition of “Fire Officer: Principles and Practice”, The Secret List and His recent writing on firefighter behavioral health has been nominated for 2014 Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Series.

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