Fire/EMS Survival Alert from the IAFC

Fire/EMS Survival Alert from the IAFC

We know all fire chiefs and most members of the fire/EMS service are focused on budget and related issues these days. With some very recent firefighter line-of-duty deaths, it’s also important for all members of the fire/EMS service to keep a strong focus and redouble efforts on issues related to firefighter injury and LODD prevention.

Without question, the most valuable component of any community’s fire/EMS service are the firefighters and EMS personnel who provide that service, and protecting those personnel must be the #1 priority. Serious development of applicable policies and procedures are the basis of an effective risk-management program. Once established, training on those policies and strict enforcement have proven to be effective in reducing injury and death to firefighters and EMS personnel.

  • So far in 2009, just some fire/EMS LODDs include:
  • Several firefighter LODDs due to medical emergencies
  • One firefighter struck and killed by backing apparatus at a working fire
  • One firefighter killed in a crash between apparatus and a firefighter’s POV
  • An apparatus MVA vs. structure returning from an incident
  • One firefighter electrocuted at MVA scene
  • Two firefighters killed when they fell from the bucket of an aerial device during training
  • One firefighter shot at an EMS incident scene
  • Two firefighters killed in a mobile-home fire
  • One firefighter killed in an apparatus crash while responding to a reported structural fire

Each of these tragic line-of-duty deaths should be evaluated for applicability in our own departments and companies. Because they’re so recent, there are no official reports available yet, but that shouldn’t prevent us from learning what we can from what we know.
The following are resources that can immediately be accessed by fire chiefs, fire officers, firefighters and EMS personnel to conduct reviews to minimize the chances for our personnel getting injured or killed in the line of duty:

Mobile-home LODD investigations:
Fire Fighter (Lieutenant) Killed and One Fire Fighter Injured During Mobile Home Fire– Pennsylvania
Recreational Vehicle Fire Claims the Life of One Fire Fighter and Injures Two Other Fire Fighters – Arkansas

MVA incidents including tanker rollovers, crashes, etc.:
Fire Fighter Dies in a Tanker Crash – Louisiana
Junior Fire Fighter Dies and Three Volunteer Fire Fighters are Injured in a Tanker Crash – Alabama
Assistant Chief Killed When Struck by Tractor-Trailer While Operating at a Motor Vehicle Crash – North Carolina
Deputy Fire Chief Dies When Struck by Motorized Water Monitor that “Launched” Off Aerial Ladder Truck – Pennsylvania
This report includes a link to the NIOSH Safety Advisory: Improper Set-up of Aerial Ladders with a Locking Waterway May Put Fire Fighters at Risk
Additional emergency-vehicle safety resources:
Safety Week: Vehicle Safety Resources
USFA: Emergency Vehicle Safety
Recent CVD medical emergency reports and NIOSH alerts:
Fire Fighter Dies While Performing Exterior Fire Suppression at a Large Machine Shed Fire – Illinois
Fire Fighter Trainee Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death During Strenuous Training Drill – Georgia
Fire Fighter Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death After Responding to Two Calls – Kansas
NIOSH CVD Alert: Preventing Fire Fighter Fatalities Due to Heart Attacks and Other Sudden Cardiovascular Events
Recent structure-fire reports and related NIOSH alerts:
Fire Fighter and Trapped Resident Die and a Lieutenant is Injured following a Duplex Fire – Pennsylvania
Fire Fighter Dies and Captain is Injured During a Civilian Rescue Attempt at a Residential Structure Fire – Georgia
A Mutual Aid Captain and Fire Fighter Die in a Remodeled Residential Structure Fire – Texas
NIOSH Alert: Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Fire Fighters Due to Truss System Failures
Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program:
Leading Recommendations for Preventing Fire Fighter Fatalities, 1998–2005
Fire/EMS safety in possible act-of-violence responses:
A Must: Staging Areas For Violent Crime Scenes
Career Lieutenant Killed and Fire Fighter Injured By Gunfire While Responding To Medical Assistance Call – Kentucky
Additional sites for related LODD prevention:
Safety Week Resources

For more information and help related to the prevention of any firefighter/EMS personnel LODD, visit the IAFC’s Safety, Health and Survival Section’s website.

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