Firefighters are more likely to be injured while working out at the gym than they are combatting a fire, researchers say. And injuries sustained when transporting patients is the leading cause of their time off from work.
A new study analyzed injuries reported by 650 firefighters, paramedics, engineers, inspectors, and battalion chiefs in Tucson, Arizona, between 2004 and 2009. Most were men, and their average age was 41.
The average annual rate of new injuries was about 18 percent – mostly for those in their 30s and 40s, according to the report published in the journal Injury Prevention.
One-third of the injuries were related to exercise, 17 percent due to transporting patients, and 10 percent occurred during training drills or firefighting – although those suffered at a fire were the most serious.
Firefighting and emergency medical services are among the most dangerous professions, in terms of workplace injury and death rates, according to study author Gerald Poplin of the epidemiology and biostatistics division at the University of Arizona.