Whether fires are termed flammable, toxic or radioactive, they can strike at any time. Fire fatality data indicates age may impact the risk of death in home fires. The statistics below provide a glimpse of this fire trend from 2007-2011 as reported by the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and NFPA’s annual fire department experience survey.
- 30 percent of home fire fatalities were at least 65 years of age.
- Fires in homes of occupants 65 years and older increased from 19 percent to 31 percent.
- The risk of non-fatal fire injury is highest for those between 20 and 49, according to a survey from 2003-2007 by the NFPA.
The number one cause of death for firefighters on the scene is heart and blood vessel disease, causing an average of one death per week. Even more cases occur away from work. Take a look at these alarming statistics, according to a Harvard University Study:
- Firefighters are 12 to 136 times more likely to die of heart disease when putting out a fire.
- Firefighters are 3 to 14 times more likely to die of heart disease while responding to an alarm.
- Firefighters are 2 to 10.5 times more likely to die of heart disease while returning from an alarm.
- Firefighters are 3 to 7 times more likely to die of heart disease during physical training
These numbers caused the NVFC to launch their Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program in 2003 to combat this alarming trend through education, awareness, and resources. The NVFC Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program is a national program dedicated to saving America’s firefighters and EMS personnel. Their Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program promotes fitness, nutrition, and health awareness for all members of the fire and emergency services, both volunteer and career. The program offers multiple resources including cookbooks, workshops and fitness challenges.
On the scene, firefighters deal with extreme heat and exertion and are exposed to toxic substances and psychological stress. These all can have severe repercussions on an already weakened heart. It is important to take the necessary steps to improve the health of your heart. The longer you can live healthy, the longer you can do the job that you love.
What steps are you taking to improve your heart health?