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The Economics of Firefighter Injuries in the United States

Published

Author(s)

David T. Butry, David H. Webb, Stanley W. Gilbert, Jennifer Taylor

Abstract

This report identifies, summarizes, and evaluates the available data and the literature describing the economic costs associated with non-fatal firefighter injuries, illnesses, health exposures, and occupational disease (‘health outcomes’) resulting from line-of-duty activities. National firefighter non-fatal health outcome data, published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), are compared and contrasted in terms of coverage and detail provided. A survey of the economic injury literature is used to estimate the direct and indirect costs of non-fatal health outcomes. A matching procedure is introduced to combine the statistical and economic data to produce an annual estimate of firefighter non-fatal health outcome costs. The conclusion provides a discussion of the current measurement challenges that prevent a complete and throughout accounting of those costs associated with non-fatal firefighter injuries, illnesses, health exposures, and occupational disease. Data gaps exist, largely due to latency issues, in capturing the incidence and economic consequences associated with firefighter cancer and other occupational diseases, including post- traumatic stress injuries. The estimated cost of firefighter injury is estimated to range between $1.6 billion and $5.9 billion annually. This cost result in a loss equivalent of approximately $50 000 to $200 000 per fire department per year or $1500 to $5500 per firefighter per year.
Citation
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 2078
Report Number
2078

Keywords

Costs, economics, exposure, fire, firefighter, illnesses, injury, losses
Created December 11, 2019