While work-related injuries are commonplace in most professions, some professions are more prone to injuries than others. Firefighting is one such example.
In 2019 alone, there were an estimated 60,000 firefighting-related injuries — a 4% increase from the previous year. Here are the most common injuries and illnesses among active-duty firefighters.
As a firefighter, you are at a higher risk of suffering fire burns due to the nature of your job. You may suffer severe burns on your head, knees, neck, hands, or wrists. Also, continued exposure to excessive heat may lead to heatstroke, which can cause permanent body damage or worse if left untreated.
In 2017 and 2018, there were 14,425 collisions involving fire department emergency vehicles responding to or returning from incidents. Sadly, these collisions resulted in 575 injuries.
Slip, Trips, and Falls
Firefighting calls for speed to save lives and reduce further property damage. But, unfortunately, the pressure and adrenaline of the task at hand can make you miscalculate your movements and trip on the already wet and hot surfaces.
Worse still, smoke can blur your vision and make it hard for you to see the pathway. This increases your likelihood of slipping and falling and could leave you with broken limbs or brain trauma.
Firefighting is a physical job that involves repeated lifting and carrying of heavy equipment. It also involves a lot of pushing and pulling, which could strain your muscles and joints.
Smoke and Hazardous Chemical Fumes
Firefighters are often continually exposed to toxic smoke, asbestos, poisonous fumes, and sometimes radioactive materials. This continued exposure can have irreparable damage to their lungs and heart, resulting in lung cancer or cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, continuous exposure to carbon monoxide can affect their cognitive abilities.
Moving into a building that’s partially consumed by fire is no easy task. You have to brave falling glass, stones, or air conditioners to access the heart of the fire. Unfortunately, this exposes you to cuts, lacerations, and brain damage if falling debris hits your head.
Can Firefighters Pursue Compensation When Injured in the Line of Duty?
Yes. Like other workers, firefighters can generally pursue compensation when injured in the line of duty. However, pursuing a workplace injury claim on your own is not advisable. The process can be long and complex. It involves a lot of paperwork and continuous back and forth between you, your employer, and their insurance company. Without a proper skillset, this process can interfere with your recovery. Instead, it is recommended that you speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Your attorney can handle the claim process, giving you time to focus on your recovery.
Contact the Law Office of James Hoffman for Legal Support
Have you suffered a work-related injury as a Missouri firefighter? Contact the experienced Missouri work injury lawyers at the Law Office of James Hoffman for a free case evaluation. We have over 30 years of experience protecting the rights of injured Missouri workers.
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