At first glance of the United States Fire Administration USFA firefighter fatality data you may see that nine firefighters have died while advancing hoselines this year 1. What comes immediately to your mind? Were they caught in a flashover? Did they become trapped due to not recognizing signs of changing fire behavior? Halfway through the year a look at the current onduty death data shows a generality that needs more specifics before it can be properly understood or shared. As of 8 June, there are 39 firefighter fatalities listed by the USFA.
In the brief overall breakdown of the data, nine of those fatalities are listed where the activity of the victim involved advancing hoselines including wildfire. While the state of that category covers the general action of the deceased around fires, it fails to mention that the victim also became trapped due to the inferno conditions inside the burning structure 2. This is a serious omission and points to a deeper issue that the fire service is neglecting when discussing firefighter fatalities.
Too often we are in a culture where we focus on the immediate, apparent outcomes of an incident and ignore the underlying cause and cause factors of the incident. This is most unforgiving of those that have died and it shows in their deaths. As Lt. Col Grossman writes in his introduction to the data, the data will be used to help soldiers think more holistically about whether to fight a fire and, if necessary, to modify tactics.Disclaimer: The preceding content was generated by an AI algorithm, trained on millions of points of data scoured from the web. It is constantly updating itself, but while some of the information presented in this article may be true, none of the facts have been verified.