Why Firefighters Rarely Get Burned In Their Line Of Work

Do firefighters sustain burns when rescuing people out of burning structures?

According to data from the national and local reports, the most common injuries suffered and sustained by firefighters in the line of duty include muscular injuries such as sprains and strains. Burns are not the usual cause of a firefighter’s injury.

Dangerous And Hazardous Situations

Racine Fire Chief, Steven Hansen explained that firefighters are bound to get injured one way or the other, as that will always be part of what they do. Emergency calls for help are responded to under dangerous and hazardous situations. And there are times when the lives of those they are rescuing depend on them being able to get out of the hazardous situation. Hence, it is extremely important that the firefighters sent or dispatched to the emergency site, are highly trained in firefighting and rescue operations.

Protective Gearfirefighters carrying an accident victim

The firefighters’ protective gear made of Teflon fabrics are what keep them from getting burned. The ultra-high melting point property of Teflon fibers makes the firefighter’s gear highly resistant to chemicals and extremely high temperature. The fabric does not degrade below 400 degrees F. What can cause the injuries is the heavy lifting required in their job. And that often leads to muscles being at risk.

Muscle-Related Injuries Account For 2012

In the annual report released by the National Fire Protection Association, which documented the on-duty firefighter injuries in 2012, it showed that out of the 69,400 injuries, 57 percent were muscle-related. In the Racine Fire Department’s tally, the numbers for that report also showed strains as the most common type of injury between 2010 and 2012. The fire chiefs of Caledonia and South Shore, while not part of the report, confirmed that it’s the same case with their departments. Injuries sustained by their firefighters were all muscle-related.

Burns Are A Rarity

In both the national and local records, firefighters sustaining burns at the scene of the fire are rare. This, according to the Caledonia Fire Department Chief Richard Roeder, is not surprising. The firefighters are trained well to avoid getting in contact with fire but if they did, they are wearing expensive gear that would prevent such type of injury.

Lack Of Warm Up Time

Chief Roeder said that if a firefighter gets burned at the fire scene, it meant he did something wrong. The fact that the firefighters have to respond to an emergency call at a moment’s notice plus the fact that they don’t have the luxury of time to warm up before responding to the call, are all factors that make them prone to muscle pulling. Rescue efforts that require them to move a sick person down a narrow flight of stairs or moving a heavier-than-average person out of a burning house or building can be real tough for the firefighters. And they would normally feel and realize the strain after they have all gone out of the burning structure.

The Need For Training To Keep Safe

The Racine Fire Department Chief is worried though that his department could see more injuries in the future and that’s because of the budget decision made by the city officials not to allocate funds for the position of a Fire Suppression Training Officer for the incoming fiscal year. Such is a critical position since training is important for the firefighters to keep safe and if there is no central coordination of the department’s training activities, safety issues will develop over time.

Will it really hurt the city coffers to fund one critical position for the Fire Department?



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