Determinants of Injury and Death in Canadian Firefighters


Occupational injury is a significant concern facing the Canadian workforce resulting in lost work time and income, medical expenses, compensation costs, and long-term health problems or disability. Previous research has shown health risks associated with employment as a firefighter, and exposure to a variety of injury-related hazards in the course of their occupation. Extreme temperatures, toxic substances, strenuous physical labour, violence and other traumatic events are potential risks that firefighters may experience when responding to emergency situations.

The purpose of this report is to describe injury, disease and death among Canadian firefighters. The report aims to help the reader to understand the causes of injury, disease and death among Canadian firefighters through an extensive review of previous research, as well as a detailed analysis of injury claims data. Claims data from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) and WorkSafeBC for the years 2006 to 2015 for professional and volunteer firefighters are presented to define priority issues for targeted health promotion and injury prevention interventions.

This study was a joint report with BCIRPU researchers, fire chiefs from the City of Surrey, and academics from the University of British Columbia, University of the Fraser Valley, and Wilfred Laurier University. It was funded by the 2017 Motorola Solutions Foundation grant program. Read more at the University of the Fraser Valley’s Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research.

Infographic (PDF)

Podcast—Firefighting in Canada, December 3, 2018 (29:11)

Note: A previous version of this report had an error in the annual rate of fatality claims by firefighters in Canada between 2006 and 2015. We apologize for any convenience this may have caused.

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