Apr 12, 2019 07:56 PM

Chart of the Day: Firefighter Deaths in China

The deaths of 27 professional firefighters in a blaze in Sichuan last month have prompted significant soul-searching about China’s approach to emergency management.

Since 2000, 248 firefighters have died in the line of duty, according to data released by the Ministry of Emergency Management’s Fire and Rescue Bureau. 2015 was the most deadly year, with 31 killed, 24 in or after the massive explosion at a container storage station in Tianjin.


The greatest number of injuries occurred in 2002, though no major fire was reported that year. (A “major fire” is defined as a fire that kills more than 30 people.) Injury figures were not available for the Tianjin explosion or the recent Sichuan forest fire.


Fire department callouts have increased over the past 19 years but much of the time firefighters are deployed for reasons other than fires. Over the past three years they were more like to be called out to an emergency rescue than a fire. In 2018, they responded to some 236,000 fire calls, accounting for 20.4% of their total missions.


Contact reporter Gao Baiyu (

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