As if fighting infernos and reacting to terrorist attacks is not enough, firefighters are dying from avoidable health and safety problems, federal officials said.
The National Fire Protection Association cites more than 78,000 firefighter injuries annually. In a given year, about half the line-of-duty deaths are from heart-related illnesses.
"Firefighters are being killed at an alarming rate. The fire service simply cannot continue to do business as usual when so many of its own are dying," said International Association of Fire Chiefs President Chief Bob DiPoli.
Firefighter injury and death rates have remained relatively constant during the past several years, despite monumental improvements in technology and equipment. Another 25 percent are from mishaps including motor-vehicle...