Excerpts from Nfpa.org:

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released its annual U.S. Firefighter Fatalities report, which showed a total of 60 U.S. firefighter fatalities while on duty in 2017. This number represents the lowest total reported since 1977, when NFPA began reporting on-duty firefighter fatalities; it is the sixth time in the last seven years that the total has been below 70 deaths.

Of the 60 fatalities, 32 were volunteer firefighters, 21 were career firefighters, three were employees of federal land management agencies, two were contractors with federal and state land management agencies, and two were prison inmates. Deaths among career and volunteer firefighters were both at their second lowest totals in 2017.

The 17 deaths that occurred at the fire scene represents the second-lowest number of fire ground deaths since the study’s inception, and the second consecutive year that the number has been below 20.

In most years, the second largest share of on-duty firefighter deaths occurs while firefighters are responding to or returning from emergency calls. In 2017, however, the second largest share (11 deaths) occurred at the scene of non-fire emergencies: five were operating at motor vehicle crashes; three were at incidents with wires down; one was at the scene of a downed tree; one was investigating an odor in a structure; and one was checking on a possible flooding condition during a storm. Ten of the 11 were struck by passing vehicles and one suffered sudden cardiac death.

In 2017, 10 firefighters were struck by vehicles, which is far higher than the average of four deaths a year over the previous 30 years.

Overexertion, stress and medical issues accounted for more than half of the deaths in 2017. Of the 32 deaths in this category, 29 were classified as sudden cardiac deaths (usually heart attacks), two were due to strokes and one was due to complications from a recent medical procedure that developed while the victim was at work. The 29 sudden cardiac deaths in 2017, with onset while the victim was on-duty, represents the fourth time in the last six years that the toll has been below 30, but still accounts for almost half of the deaths while on-duty.

A comprehensive study that enumerates all duty-related deaths in a year is not yet possible to accomplish.