What Is the Chance Your Firefighter Dies on The Job?

by | Everyday, Fire Family Life, Guest Posts, LODD

Please welcome guest writer David Soler from FirefighterToolbox.com.   Sure we have worries, but don’t let them get the best of you.  Take it from David and these great facts.   

Does your Firefighter have a higher risk of dying driving to the store or working as a firefighter?

When a firefighter dies in the line of duty its called LODD or Line of Duty Death. If you watch the media and news, it will seem like firefighters are dying all the time. If you’re the wife of a firefighter, I would think that would be very nerve racking and scary.

But let’s look at the reality of it.

What are the chances that your firefighter will really perish in a LODD?

TRUTH: Very Very Very Slim chance.

In fact he has a better chance of dying in a car accident going to the grocery store when you ask him to go get milk and bread. Really! Let me explain.

Here are the facts:

According to statistics provided by the United States Fire Administration (Source: usfa.fema.gov) there are 1,082,500 firefighters in the US (278,300 career and 804,200 volunteer). There are on average about 100 firefighter LODD’s/year. So that makes the chances of your firefighter .00923% likely to become a LODD. That is less than 1/100 of a percent chance of your firefighter being mortally injured and not returning home.

Of the firefighter fatalities, roughly 44% were from cardiac related issues(Heart Attack) and they could have died at home or somewhere besides the fire ground. If a firefighter dies of a heart attack within 24 hours of the incident, it is considered a LODD.

The 2nd leading cause is vehicle accidents (roughly 27%). Firefighters getting killed driving to the fire station or going to the call where they were ejected from the vehicle, etc.

That leaves 30% of all other deaths including what you see on TV when a building collapses on a firefighter or they get lost in a fire and succumb to the products of combustion, etc.

The chances of us dying in a car accident in our lifetime in 1 in 100 or 1%.  (Source: livescience.com)

So in actuality, your firefighter has a bigger risk dying when driving to the store than on the job.

Remember, the media sells fear so they will always play that and have it splashed all over the news. In reality, it’s rare compared to all the other dangers we face in life. So rest a little easier knowing that there are risks, but it is a very minimal risk that your husband will become a LODD.

One thing you can do to reduce that risk even more?

You can reduce their risk of LODD even more by encouraging and serving healthier meals and doing exercise with him to prevent the heart disease and heart stress that is the number 1 killer. Encourage the healthier lifestyle and healthier eating so you will help eliminate the #1 cause of LODD.

Thanks for being a firefighter significant other. We serve and help others and its nice to have a wife that supports and helps us. Keep up the good work & loving!

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David is the Founder & Publisher of FirefighterToolbox.com. He also has over 23 years in the fire service and is known for training and encouraging up and coming firefighters and officers. He is the host of the iTunes Top Rated Firefightertoolbox Podcast and is the Publisher of FirefighterToolbox.com. He is nationally certified Fire Officer II, Rescue Tech, Haz Mat Tech with experienced in both urban and rural fire services and has served in multiple states as both career and volunteer.

Latest posts by David J Soler (see all)

11 Comments

  1. Megan

    I remember learning that statistic when my husband was in the Academy. The #1 cause of FF death is heart disease. My husband took that to heart and really started eating healthy (I mean, he already ate semi healthy, but he tried to make better decision). Thanks for the perspective!

    Reply
    • David J Soler

      Megan- That’s great he did that. Heart disease is the big killer. We do put our bodies through a lot of stress being on the job so a healthy lifestyle will lead to long life.

      Reply
  2. Heather Isaacs

    Such reassuring words…my FF has always reminded me of this, but sometimes it is hard to banish that fear from your mind.

    Reply
    • David J Soler

      True Heather. This is that small chance, but again it’s higher driving our car. Best wishes!

      Reply
  3. David J Soler

    Megan- That’s great he did that. Heart disease is the big killer. We do put our bodies through a lot of stress being on the job so a healthy lifestyle will lead to long life.

    Reply
  4. Karen DeWitt

    Very informative. Thank You

    Reply
  5. Laurel Smart

    Those are very reassuring statistics. Thank you for your article.

    Reply
    • David J Soler

      Sure thing Laurel. Thanks for reading and commenting. God Bless.

      Reply
  6. Steve Carter

    HI David,
    Thanks for your article, I spent 25 years in the fire service retiring at 52, healthy. Most of us never entered the fire service to be in the fire prevention bureau. Yet we realize there’s great value in prevention. As you know so well, training others to be proactive, to think on one’s feet and be adaptable are all so very important to a having a healthy, productive career. Strengthening our nutritional status (i.e. prevention) also helps everyone of us in reducing the hidden effects of the job stress that comes in all shapes and packages. .
    Keep up the great work of educating and equipping the men, women and families of this noble calling!

    Reply
  7. Victor

    Thanks for the info, I will become a firefighter in two years and this was really helpful.

    Reply

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