US firefighters work with known heart problems.(News)

Three-quarters of US firefighters who died of heart attacks--the top cause of on-duty deaths--went to work with known or detectable heart conditions, according to a new analysis of firefighter fatalities from 1995 to 2004 by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The toll of heart disease is a major reason why firefighter deaths have not declined in recent years, even though fewer firefighters die in burning structures (and fewer structures catch fire).An average of 97 firefighters died per year in the 1990s. But since 2000, the yearly average has been 102, except for firefighters killed during the 9-11 attacks.

In 2004, there were 103 firefighters who died on the job, a rate similar to other recent years. …

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