Key Findings

An estimated 64,875 firefighter injuries occurred while on duty in 2020, an increase of seven percent from the 2019 injury total.

In addition to injuries, there were 20,900 documented exposures of firefighters to infectious diseases and 17,050 exposures to hazardous conditions.

Firefighters were more likely to be injured at fireground operations than at other types of duties. In 2020, 22,450 of all the reported firefighter injuries occurred at the fireground (35 percent).

The leading cause of fireground injuries was overexertion or strain (31 percent).

Strains, sprains, or muscular pain injuries accounted for approximately two out of five injuries on the fireground (40 percent).

Other major fireground injuries included wounds, cuts, bleeding, or bruising (13 percent); smoke or gas inhalation (10 percent); and thermal stress (frostbite or heat exhaustion) (8 percent).

Non-fireground injuries included 4,975 injuries while responding to or returning from an incident; 7,550 injuries incurred during training activities; 13,650 injuries at non-fire emergency incidents; and 16,250 injuries during other on-duty activities.

Strains, sprains, and muscular pain accounted for 49 percent of all the non-fireground injuries.

Background and Objectives

Firefighters work in varied and complex environments that expose them to a number of potential hazards. Each year, NFPA gathers information about firefighter deaths and injuries to provide national statistics on their frequency, extent, and characteristics. Earlier this year, NFPA reported that there were 140 on-duty firefighter fatalities in 2020.

A better understanding of how firefighters become injured or ill on the job can help inform intervention efforts to ensure firefighter safety and health.

This report examines firefighter injuries in the United States in 2020. The results are based on data collected by the NFPA fire experience survey.

This year's report includes among its results:

Source: NFPA survey of fire Departments for US fire experience (1981–2019).