On May 29, 2002, a 45-year-old male career Engineer (the deceased) was on-duty at his fire station, having returned to his station at 0245 hours from an EMS call and went back to bed in the bunkroom at approximately 0300 hours. Around 0530 hours the deceased would typically awaken first, make coffee, then rouse the remainder of the crew. This morning, however, he failed to awaken, and, at approximately 0615 hours, crew members found him unresponsive in his bunk. He had no pulse, no respirations, and was cool to the touch. Since he was obviously expired for some time, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was not begun. He was pronounced dead at the station by the coroner. The death certificate completed by the Chief Medical Examiner, and the autopsy completed by the Pathologist, both listed "sudden cardiac death" secondary to hypertensive heart disease and coronary artery disease as the cause of death. The following recommendations address some general health and safety issues. This list includes some preventive measures that have been recommended by other agencies to reduce the risk of on-the-job heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest among fire fighters. These selected recommendations have not been evaluated by NIOSH, but they represent published research or consensus votes of technical committees of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) or fire service labor/management groups: 1. Modify current mandatory preplacement medical evaluations to be consistent with NFPA 1582; 2. Ensure that fire fighters are cleared for duty, following an injury/illness, by a physician knowledgeable about the physical demands of fire fighting and the various components of NFPA 1582; and, 3. Phase in a mandatory wellness/fitness program for fire fighters to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and improve cardiovascular capacity. Although unrelated to this fatality, the Fire Department should consider these additional recommendations based on safety and economic considerations: 1. Provide adequate fire fighter staffing to ensure safe operating conditions; and, 2. Discontinue x-ray's of the Lumbar spine.
Region-4; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Heart; Physical-stress; Physical-fitness; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Medical-screening; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-function; Cardiovascular-system; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Medical-examinations; Medical-monitoring; Medical-screening