2021 Fireground Civilian Rescue Research Project

Brian Brush EFO, CTO

2021 Fireground Civilian Rescue Research Project

Brian Brush EFO, CTO

To date, the American fire service has not officially collected the number of or means of which civilians are rescued at fires. The result of this information gap is a service unable to quantify if or how, presence, actions, or operations result in saving lives. For the fire service to deliberately improve outcomes and not just reduce loss, the mission (saving lives) must match the metrics (lives saved). Until then, the operational impact of the American fire service will remain unknown.

The purpose of this graduate research project is to demonstrate the scope and value of fireground civilian rescue reporting using qualitative survey methods. The results will support an improved understanding of fireground operational influence on outcomes. A clearer vision of the nation’s fire problem for the future includes the knowledge of both the parameters of our problem (loss) and the dimensions of our success (saves).  

January 1, through January 31, 2021 Report

160  Residential structure fire incidents with fireground civilian rescues by fire departments were reported in U.S. news media or by department press releases.

292  Civilians were rescued from residential structure fires and transferred to emergency medical  through the direct actions of U.S. firefighters. 

73%  Survival rate for civilians who were rescued from residential structure fires and transferred to emergency medical through the direct actions of U.S. firefighters. Survival rate calculated from the 75 direct follow up Firefighter Rescue Surveys.

213  Estimated civilian lives saved from residential structure fires through the direct actions of U.S. firefighters and emergency medical personnel.

106  Single family dwelling and mobile home fire incidents had fireground civilian rescues yielding a total of 158 victims. For single family dwelling and mobile home fires with victims, it can be anticipated that there will be more than one potential victim.

54  Apartment and multi-family dwelling structure fires had fireground civilian rescues yielding a total of 134 victims. For apartment and multi-family dwelling incidents with rescues, the average is 2.5 victims per incident.

January 2021 Fireground Civilian Rescues by State:

Alabama – 4Delaware – 1Indiana – 6Michigan – 6New Hampshire – 8Oklahoma – 1Utah – 2
Arizona – 2Florida – 14Kansas – 11Minnesota – 3New Jersey – 6Pennsylvania – 22Virginia – 3
California – 5Georgia – 3Kentucky – 1Missouri – 16New Mexico – 1Rhode Island – 2Vermont – 2
Colorado – 2Iowa – 4Louisiana – 1Montana – 1Nevada – 1South Carolina – 3Washington – 18
Connecticut – 4Idaho – 4Massachusetts – 14North Carolina – 11New York – 20Tennessee – 8Wisconsin – 12
DC – 3Illinois – 22Maryland – 16Nebraska – 2Ohio – 13Texas – 13West Virginia – 1

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