SATURDAY, Nov. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise is meant to help
prevent injuries in firefighters, but these workers are more likely
to be injured while working out than while combating fires,
according to a new study.
The researchers also found that injuries suffered while
transporting patients are the leading cause of time off work for
The study examined injuries reported between 2004 and 2009 among
650 firefighters, paramedics, engineers, inspectors and battalion
chiefs while at work at 21 fire stations in Tucson, Arizona. Their
average age was 41, and 95 percent were males.
The average yearly incidence of new injuries was 17.7 per 100
employees, and most of the injuries occurred to those in their 30s
and 40s. Exercise-related injuries accounted for one-third of the
total, 17 percent occurred while transporting patients, and about
10 percent occurred during training drills, the investigators
Sprains and strains accounted for between 40 and 85 percent of
injuries, followed by cuts and bruising. Most (95 percent) of the
injuries were minor. Only 10 percent of injuries occurred during
firefighting, but a higher percentage of these were serious.
Strains and sprains suffered while transporting patients
accounted for nearly half of the injury-related time taken off
work, according to the report published online Nov. 23 in the
Firefighting and emergency medical services combined have one of
the highest workplace injury and death rates in the United States,
study author Gerald Poplin, of the epidemiology and biostatistics
division at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and colleagues
pointed out in a journal news release.
A National Fire Protection Association report says
firefighter injuries have declined since 2009.