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Occupational Fatalities Among EMS Clinicians and Firefighters In FDNY 1/20–8/20

23 Nov 2020 3:27 PM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

JEMS Source Article | Comments Courtesy of Matt Zavadsky

  • Very concerning data from this study from JEMS. 

    Something we can use to remind our field providers about the importance of compliance with infection control process, and advocate for additional mental health resources for our personnel.

    Most notable quotes:

  • We know that the pandemic fatality rate for the U.S. population as of October 17 (217,918 deaths) is 66.4 per 100,000 persons. Using the formula from above we see that the relative risk for FDNY EMS is about 36% higher than the national rate.
  • The data that are available indicate that EMS clinicians are at higher overall risk of death, pandemic-related mortality and suicide than other emergency services and health professions.
  • This shows that in FDNY during the first eight months of 2020, the risk of occupational fatality for EMS clinicians was 14 times higher than the risk for firefighters.  
  • The DOL reports that the civilian occupation with the highest fatality rate in the U.S. in 2018 was “Logging” with a rate of 97.6.16 The FDNY EMS clinicians have a rate of occupational fatality that is 2.5 times higher.
  • The EMS suicide risk in the U.S., as measured by the percent of all fatalities, is about twice as high as the national average20 and twice as high as the risk for firefighters.



Occupational Fatalities Among EMS Clinicians and Firefighters in the New York City Fire Department; January to August 2020

By Brian J Maguire, Dr.PH, MSA, EMT-P, Barbara J. O’Neill, PhD, RN, Daniel R. Gerard, MS, RN, NREMT-P, Paul Maniscalco, PhD(c), MPA, MS, EMT/P, LP, Scot Phelps, JD, MPH and Kathleen A. Handal, MD



On October 6, 2020, the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) conducted a memorial service for department members who had recently died. It was a somber ceremony for the many fallen personnel. The ceremony was very inclusive and noted the passing of emergency responders, FDNY civilians and mechanics as well as a paramedic who had come to NYC on a FEMA deployment to assist during the pandemic.1 The information on the notice also provided an opportunity for a preliminary agency-level epidemiology analyses to develop a better understanding of the risks faced by FDNY personnel in 2020.


New York City is both the most populous and most densely populated major city in the U.S.; over eight million people live in 302 square miles.2 FDNY covers this entire area and employs 11,230 firefighters and 4,408 emergency medical services (EMS) clinicians (including paramedics and emergency medical technicians).3 In 2018, there were 1.8 million “ambulance runs” in NYC; FDNY firefighters responded to 619,378 calls.4 EMS crews in NYC typically respond to about 4,000 emergency calls a day; at times during the pandemic, demand swelled to over 7,000 calls a day.5,6 Of almost 1.5 million people tested in NYC by August 20, 27% had antibodies to the coronavirus.7


Prior research has shown that EMS clinicians face high risks and have occupational fatality rates similar to police and fire and non-fatal injury rates higher than police and fire.8-10 The purpose of this analyses was to both document current fatalities among FDNY personnel and to compare risks between two occupational groups in FDNY.


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