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Fire fighter trainee with an atrial septal aneurysm collapses and dies during debris fire operations - Pennsylvania.

Authors
Baldwin-T; Hales-T
Source
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE F2009-24, 2009 Dec; :1-9
NIOSHTIC No.
20036443
Abstract
On July 6, 2009, a 28-year-old male volunteer fire fighter trainee (the Trainee) responded to a debris fire. At the scene, he assisted in stretching a 1-inch handline as other fire fighters extinguished the fire. The Trainee reported to the driver/operator that he had a severe headache and difficulty breathing. As the driver/operator called for the Fire Chief, the Trainee collapsed. Crew members assessed the Trainee, began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and called an ambulance. Despite advanced life support on-scene and during transport to the local hospital's emergency department (ED), the Trainee died. The death certificate, completed by the coroner, and the autopsy, completed by the forensic pathologist, listed "atrial septal aneurysm" as the cause of death. NIOSH investigators conclude that the Trainee's underlying medical condition, possibly triggered by the physical exertion involved in responding to the call and stretching the fire hose, caused his death. Given the cause of death, it is unlikely Fire Department (FD) policies or procedures could have prevented the death of this Trainee. Therefore, the following recommendations address general health and safety issues to reduce the risk of on-the-job cardiovascular events among fire fighters at this and other fire departments across the country. 1. Provide preplacement and annual medical evaluations to all fire fighters. 2. Perform a preplacement and an annual physical performance (physical ability) evaluation. 3. Ensure fire fighters are cleared for return to duty by a physician knowledgeable about the physical demands of fire fighting, the personal protective equipment used by fire fighters, and the various components of NFPA 1582. 4. Phase in a comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters. 5. Provide fire fighters with medical clearance to wear self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) as part of the Fire Department's medical evaluation program.
Keywords
Region-3; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Accident-prevention; Accident-analysis; Accidents; Emergency-responders; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Physical-fitness; Medical-screening
Publication Date
20091201
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
2010
NTIS Accession No.
PB2010-105910
NTIS Price
A02
Identifying No.
FACE-F2009-24
NIOSH Division
DSHEFS
Priority Area
Services: Public Safety
SIC Code
NAICS-92
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
State
PA; OH
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