International Comparison of Fire Department Injuries

Jefferey L Burgess, Michael Duncan, Joshua Mallett, Bonnie LaFleur, Sally Littau, Kuninori Shiwaku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Firefighting remains a dangerous profession. The objective of this study was to compare injury rates among career and volunteer fire departments internationally. Methods: Injury and staffing data were collected for 2004-2009. All reported, lost-time, and activity-specific injury rates were calculated for fireground, medical, training and physical exercise activities. Injury rates were also adjusted for number of fireground and medical responses, and average annual training hours. Injury rates were generally higher in the U.S. than in Commonwealth nation and Japanese fire departments. Lost-time injury rates varied markedly among fire departments, from 0.6 (95% CI 0.4-0.9) to 23.5 (95% CI 22.4-22.7) injuries per 100 firefighters per year. The greatest pair-wise differences in lost-time injury rates were seen in the fireground and medical call activities, and these differences persisted when the rates were adjusted by the number of firefighters responding to fireground and medical incidents, respectively. Injury rates vary substantially across fire departments, suggesting that substantial improvements could result from adoption of more optimal health and safety approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1043-1059
Number of pages17
JournalFire Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Firefighter
  • Injuries
  • International
  • Risk management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Materials Science(all)

Cite this

Burgess, J. L., Duncan, M., Mallett, J., LaFleur, B., Littau, S., & Shiwaku, K. (2014). International Comparison of Fire Department Injuries. Fire Technology, 50(5), 1043-1059.