BOSTON – The number of on-duty firefighter deaths last year in the United States was the lowest in more than three decades.
In a report released Monday, the National Fire Protection Association said 72 firefighters died on-duty in 2010. That's a sharp drop from the 105 on-duty deaths in 2008 and 82 in 2009. The group said it's the lowest annual total since it began tracking it in 1977.
James Shannon, the association's CEO and president, said advances in training, equipment and fire codes are major factors in reducing the number of deaths. "We are very pleased to see that the number of on-duty firefighter deaths is at an historic low and continues to decline each year," he said.
The "Firefighter Fatality Report" was released Monday at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston.
This is the fifth time in the past 10 years that the total number of deaths has been below 100, the Quincy, Mass.-based NFPA said.
In 2009 and 2010, nine firefighters each year died in road vehicle crashes, the lowest number of deaths since 1983, the report said.
Each year, the association collects data on firefighter fatalities in the U.S. that result from on-duty injuries or illnesses.