While it is a tragedy that continues to reverberate throughout the nation, the 9/11 attack on the United States saw more than 400 emergency responders lose their lives. What is not as well-known is the alarming number of fatalities that preceded that monumental event. Statistics from 1990 to 2001 revealed that 97 firefighters and 155 police officers died, numbers that are often and understandably overshadowed due to the horrific tragedy.
Police, firefighters, and emergency responders are listed in the top 15 jobs with serious risks of fatal occupational injury. Fatalities are three to four times higher than the average of all occupations. Emergency medical services responders come in at two-and-a-half times.
Numbers post-9/11 reveal that about 88,000 volunteer firefighters suffered injuries yearly while at fire scenes, accounting for half of all injuries. The most common are traumatic injuries, cuts, bruises, burns, heat stress, and respiratory injuries, including asphyxiation. Physical stress from being lost or trapped accounts for fifty percent of all on-duty fatalities. Vehicle crashes are equally prominent.
Traumatic injuries are most common for law enforcement officers who already put their lives on the line to protect their respective communities. Motor vehicle accidents, falls, assaults and physical stress/overexertion also cause physical damage. Ninety percent of line-of-duty fatalities are car collisions and attacks from criminal suspects.
Emergency medical services injuries
While challenging to define, data on emergency medical services employees often suffer a wide range of physical injuries, from sprains and strains to serious back injuries. Additionally, they are constantly exposed to infectious diseases. Most on-duty deaths take the form of aircraft and vehicle-related catastrophes. Mental health matters from traumatic and post-traumatic stress disorder are also common.
The most honorable professions often carry the most risk. When injuries occur, help from an attorney can help even the odds they face.