Saturday, September 11, 2010

Minnesota Firefighters Injured in the Line of Duty

On the 9th anniversary of 9/11, I want to take a moment to thank our Minnesota firefighters for the work they do to protect the citizens of Minnesota. On 9/11, at least 343 firefighters and paramedics died while attempting to rescue the victims in the Twin Towers.

It goes without saying that firefighting is a dangerous job. Every day, Minnesota firefighters put themselves in harms way to protect our safety and property. Since 1881, almost 200 Minnesota firefighters have been killed in the line of duty. Thousands and thousands more have been injured in the line of duty.

Common firefighter injuries include:

Sprains or strains
Injuries from falling objects
Cuts and lacerations
Thermal burns
Exhaustion or fatigue
Smoke Inhalation
Puncture wounds
Heart attacks or cardiac symptoms
Eye Trauma
Dizziness or fainting
Electric shock
Crush injuries
Slip and falls and trip and falls
Falls from heights
Traffic accidents

These types of injuries can occur during fire suppression, hose line handling, using hand tools, forcible entry, overhaul operations, ventilation, salvage operations, laying hose, moving tools or equipment, climbing ladders, raising ladders, searching for victims, rescuing victims, and operating fire engines.

Traffic accidents also pose a significant risk to firefighters. In fact, in the last decade, all five firefighter deaths involved an auto accident or a firefighter being struck by a vehicle.

In addition to injuries at fire scenes, firefighters also frequently sustain injuries performing EMS operations, fire station and equipment maintenance, driving, hazardous material handling, inspection, and office work.

Back injuries are the single most common and costly injury for firefighters, followed closely by injuries to necks, shoulders, and knees.

Firefighters who are injured on the job in Minnesota may entitled to a variety of workers’ compensation benefits, including medical expense benefits, wage loss benefits, permanency benefits, and rehabilitation benefits. Minnesota firefighters who become disabled from continuing to work as firefighters due to their injuries may also be entitled to PERA disability benefits.

It is a sad and unfortunate fact that Minnesota firefighters do sometimes lose their lives while protecting Minnesota citizens. There are a number of types of benefits available to the families of deceased firefighters, including workers’ compensation death and dependency benefits. There are also several additional types of benefits available, which you can learn more about at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

I have a special respect and admiration for the men and women who serve our State as firefighters. My dad was a volunteer firefighter in my small hometown community for over 25 years. Meuser & Associates, P.A., has represented dozens of firefighters, including numerous St. Paul firefighters and Minneapolis firefighters, as well as firefighters from around the state. If you are a firefighter who has been injured in the line of duty, we are happy to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your rights under the Minnesota workers’ compensation law, as well as your rights under PERA. Contact us at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email to speak with one of our lawyers, Ron or Jen.

Visit us at to learn more about Minnesota Workers' Compensation.

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