The causes of firefighters’ deaths in Spain

ISK Fire Survival

Cardil and Molina’s 2015 study on the causes of death among firefighting personnel in Spain, between 1980 and 2010, highlights that entrapment is the most frequent cause of death. Although the study is very detailed and thorough in all the causes of death examined, the main causes of fatalities are:

  1. Entrapment: Situations where firefighters are surrounded by fire with no possibility of escape, often due to rapid and unforeseen changes in the direction or intensity of the fire.
  2. Vehicle and aircraft accidents: Accidents during transit to or from fires, or the use of aircraft in firefighting, can result in fatalities.
  3. Falls: Falls from heights, for example, from cliffs or through uneven terrain, while fighting fires.
  4. Tree or rock impact: Falling trees and rocks are a significant risk, especially in wildfires in mountainous or densely wooded terrain.
  5. Smoke and flame exposure: Smoke inhalation or direct exposure to flames can cause suffocation, severe burns, or death.
  6. Overexertion and related health problems: Extreme physical exertion under extreme heat conditions can lead to critical health problems, such as heart attacks.

Entrapment is the most frequent cause of death, underscoring the importance of safety and prevention strategies, including training in decision-making in rapidly changing situations, the use of tracking and communication technologies, and the establishment of clear safety zones and escape routes. In addition, in the case of forest fires, it is important to use self-protection equipment such as ISK Fire Survival ®. Effective wildfire preparedness and response requires a detailed understanding of all of these potential causes of fatalities to minimize risks to firefighting personnel.