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Technical Information


Data Sources

Up arrow NIOSH

The NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP) investigates selected on-duty fire fighter deaths. The program’s goal is to learn from these tragic events and prevent similar events through its recommendations. NIOSH does not investigate every fire fighter fatality. Typically, the FFFIPP has investigated annually about one third to one half of fire fighter deaths since the program's start in 1998.

Completed or pending NIOSH investigations are identified on the map and the case listing views. For those deaths with a completed investigation, links are provided to the final NIOSH reports. NIOSH updates the mapping application information when fatalities are selected for investigation and final investigation reports are published. The reports along with related fire fighter safety resources also are available through the NIOSH FFFIPP page.

Up arrow USFA Information button

The incident data including fire fighter and event characteristics provided in the map, statistics, and case listing views for fire fighter fatalities are derived from monthly microdata files provided to NIOSH by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). The USFA tracks fire fighter fatalities that include on-duty deaths of paid and volunteer fire fighters, local and municipal fire fighters, government fire personnel, prison inmates on firefighting crews, and civilian and military personnel assigned to fire suppression activities. Activities may include operations at a fire or non-fire incident, responding to/from an incident, completing other officially assigned duties (e.g., training, maintenance, inspection), and on standby duty. With the December 2003 passage of the Hometown Heroes Survivor Benefits Act, fire fighter heart attack and stroke related deaths that occurred within 24 hours of qualifying on-duty activities have been included as on-duty deaths. From 2004 through 2012, an average of 14 "Hometown Hero" qualifying firefighter deaths occurred per year. The USFA incident data are derived from multiple sources and USFA reviews each death for inclusion as an on-duty death. The completeness of information and accuracy of fire fighter and incident characteristics have improved over time, particularly for geocoding of the incident location.

To provide a national perspective, incident data for all on-duty fire fighter deaths, not just those deaths with pending or completed NIOSH investigations, are included in this searchable mapping application.

Up arrow Data Updating

The map is updated with new death information as it becomes available to NIOSH. Recently posted information is subject to change as more details or more accurate information become available. The NIOSH map data and the USFA fatality database are synchronized approximately monthly. Older data that have been modified by USFA may change in the synchronization process. Data displayed in this application may not match USFA data because of corrections, edits, and/or delays in data synchronization.

Data Views

Up arrow Map View

The map displays markers for on-duty deaths meeting the user selected criteria in the Search Criteria section on the left. The default search criteria are for all fatal incidents in the current year. All incident and fire fighter characteristics are based on the USFA date of incident, not the year of death.

The map display uses Nokia Maps™ mapping services. Hence, common features such as clicking on a marker to view an "info window," zoom, pan, and click and drag may be used.

Map Markers

Four marker types are displayed on the map. Clicking a marker will open a fatality info window. Markers appear for every death that meets the search criteria when location information is available.

Fatality map markerRed markers indicate deaths that have not been investigated or that are not currently anticipated to be investigated by NIOSH.

Pending investigation markerYellow markers indicate deaths that have a NIOSH investigation pending.

Completed investigation markerBlue markers indicate deaths that NIOSH has investigated and published a final report.

Multiple fatality markerPurple markers with an embedded fatality count indicate multiple fatalities that are attributed to the same location. The deaths may have occurred in one or more incidents.

Marker Locations

All marker locations are approximate. Markers indicate the location of on-duty deaths based on the best available geographic information. Ideally, the location indicates the approximate location of the fatal event. However, when exact event location information is not available, the location of the fire department, the nearest city, or the geographic center of the state may be indicated on the map display. Vague or unknown locations are set most commonly to the fire department location or the center of a zip code area. When possible, NIOSH corrects obvious missing or erroneous geocoding data to a more appropriate location. However, such corrections may have simply placed the marker in the correct state (i.e., at the geographic center).

Caution: Because of geocoding errors or missing incident location, data oddities occasionally arise, particularly for older data. For example, for some multiple fatality events where the location information may not be consistent for all decedents several map markers may appear. Also map markers may appear in other locations than the state of incident when the state in which the incident is known, but the geocoding information is set to the decedent’s fire station in another state.

Marker Info Windows

Clicking on a marker opens an info window that displays information about the fatality attributed to that location. The info window first includes the NIOSH investigation status if the fatality has a pending or completed investigation. For deaths with a completed investigation the window includes the title of the NIOSH investigation report which is an active web link to the full report. The info window then lists the information available for the date of incident (may not correspond to the date of death), age at time of incident, sex, state, rank, years of service, fatal injury nature, and an event descriptions. In general these characteristics match the data provided by USFA. Some correction and recoding may be done by NIOSH when errors are obvious. However, NIOSH does not change the USFA information presented to match the data in the NIOSH investigation reports when there is a discrepancy. Based on NIOSH policy, NIOSH has redacted all individual fire fighter names and identifiers in the narrative incident descriptions and replaced them with "*****". When NIOSH completes an investigation and publishes a report, a link to the report is provided.

Markers for multiple fatalities attributed to the same location display a list of deaths in the info window. A color-coded symbol for the NIOSH investigation status for deaths with pending or completed investigations is included with the incident month and year, sex, rank, and age of the fire fighter. Clicking on an individual case in the list opens a detailed info window for that case. Clicking the “back” button in the info window returns you to the list of cases window. Most multiple fatality markers represent a single incident. However, some markers represent different incidents. The latter circumstance typically occurs when search criteria include multiple years or when a fire department had multiple fatal incidents during a single year and the map location is attributed to the fire department location.

Up arrow Statistics View

The Statistics view displays on-duty fatality counts matching the search criteria in a table format. The user may select one or two characteristics to increase the detail provided in the table.

Up arrow Case Listing View

The Case Listing view displays selected characteristics of cases matching the search criteria in a simple list format. The list includes a NIOSH investigation status marker, link to completed NIOSH reports, date of incident, age at time of incident, rank, state (as attributed by the incident location), sex, and nature (medical cause of death). The list is sortable and may be printed.

Search Criteria

Up arrow Search Criteria

Search criteria are used to focus on fire fighter deaths with specific characteristics. For example, checking the NIOSH Investigations box will display only those fire fighter deaths with NIOSH investigations. Other criteria may be selected to further constrain the characteristics of the deaths displayed (e.g., department type = volunteer). Search criteria selected are simultaneously applied to the map, statistics, and case listing views. The total number of deaths that meet the specific criteria selected is displayed above the Search Criteria list. Search criteria are provided as check boxes and single or multiple selection pull-down lists. Criterion may be selected independently or in conjunction with other search criteria.

Up arrow NIOSH Investigations

Checking the NIOSH Investigations box in the search criteria section limits the deaths displayed to those deaths that NIOSH has or will investigate. If checked, only cases with a "pending" or "completed" NIOSH fatality investigation will be included in the output displays. A case is marked as having a "pending" investigation once NIOSH confirms that they will investigate the death. The case will be marked "completed" once NIOSH publicly releases the investigation report and posts it to the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program web page.

Status

The user may select ALL deaths that have been or will be investigated by NIOSH; cases with a Pending status (i.e., yellow map marker); or with a Completed investigation status (i.e., blue map marker). Clicking on purple multiple fatality markers will display any investigated deaths in a case listing.

Medical and Trauma

NIOSH identifies each fatality investigation report as either medical-related or trauma-related (e.g., heart attack or motor vehicle incident). This is primarily an indexing classification used to identify related types of investigation reports. Within the medical- or trauma-related classification, reports may be assigned one or more subclassifications. On average, 60% of investigated deaths have 2 indexing subcategories assigned. In the FFFMap application, these indexing classifications are assigned to all deaths included in the investigation report even though an index term may not be relevant to every death included in a multiple fatality investigation report.

The medical and trauma indexing classifications may be used as search criteria when "Completed" is selected as the NIOSH Investigation Status. Medical and trauma indexing classifications cannot be selected simultaneously. For example, if Medical = "Heart attack" is selected, the Trauma list is disabled. Conversely, if a Trauma characteristic is selected, the Medical list is disabled.

Up arrow Incident Characteristics

Fourteen different fire fighter and incident characteristics may be used as search criteria. All criteria apply to the time of the incident. The search criteria categories and the subcategories available within each pull-down list are based on the information available in the USFA data.

Year

Calendar year in which the incident leading to the death of the firefighter occurred. For some cases, this year will NOT match the year the firefighter died.

Month

Calendar month in which the incident leading to the death of the firefighter occurred. For some cases, this month will NOT match the month the firefighter died.

State

The state or U.S. territory in which the incident leading to the death of the firefighter occurred. Map markers may NOT coincide with the state of the incident. The map marker is placed by default at the firefighter’s home fire station when the latitude and longitude for the incident is not available or could not be determined. On occasion, this default results in map markers that appear in states other than the state selected. For a small number of cases, the state of incident is missing.

Age

The fire fighters age on the date that the incident leading to their death occurred. The firefighter may have been older on the date of his death. Ages are selectable as inclusive age ranges.

Sex

The firefighter’s sex: male, female, or not available.

Rank

The firefighter’s rank as classified in five standard categories: Firefighter, Company Officer, Chief Officer, Other, Unknown

Department Type

The career (full-time, paid fire fighters), volunteer, or combination (career and volunteer) nature of the fire department with which the fatally injured fire fighter was affiliated.

Nature

The primary physical characteristic of the injury or illness that resulted in the death of the fire fighter (e.g., asphyxiation, burns, or heart attack).

Cause

The injury, event, or illness that directly caused the death.

Activity

The general activity in which the fire fighter was involved that lead to their death.

Hometown Heroes

Fire fighter heart attack and stroke related deaths that occurred within 24 hours of qualifying on-duty activities.

Terrorism

Terrorism related fire fighter deaths (e.g., related to events of September 11, 2001).

Events with multiple fatalities

Deaths associated with single events which lead to more than one fighter fatality. If checked, all deaths arising from individual events with multiple fatalities will be displayed. Deaths arising from events at the same location but in separate incidents are NOT included.

Wildland fire fatalities

Deaths arising from wildland fires. Wildland fires are fires that are primarily non-structural in “an area in which development is essentially non-existent, except for roads, railroads, power lines, and similar transportation facilities. Structures, if any are widely scattered” (see the National Wildfire Coordinating Group). If checked, all deaths will be included that arose during or immediately following wildland or wildland/urban interface fire fighting activities These fires are commonly referred to as brush, forest, rangeland, or wild fires.

DISCLAIMER

THESE DATA ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE. THE USE OF PRODUCT OR TRADE NAMES HEREIN DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH (NIOSH) EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, NON-INFRINGEMENT, OR FITNESS OF A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. NIOSH DOES NOT WARRANT OR ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACCURACY, TIMELINESS, OR COMPLETENESS OF INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS SITE. NIOSH FURTHER EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION TO AUTHORIZED USERS OR TO ANY THIRD PARTY. IN NO EVENT SHALL NIOSH OR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANYONE ELSE FOR ANY DIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OF ANY KIND, OR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, LOSS OF PROFIT, LOSS OF USE, SAVINGS OR REVENUE, OR THE CLAIMS OF THIRD PARTIES, WHETHER OR NOT NIOSH OR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH LOSS, HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE POSSESSION, USE OR PERFORMANCE OF THIS SOFTWARE. THE UNITED STATES (U.S.) FIRE ADMINISTRATION NEITHER WARRANTS NOR IMPLIES ENDORSEMENT OF THE INFORMATION PRESENTED HEREIN.

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