Workplace Solutions: Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Fire Fighters Working at Basement and Other Below-Grade Fires

August 2018
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2018-154
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Fire fighters are at significant risk of injury or death when fighting fires in basements or floors below-grade level. The increased risk is due to limited entry and egress; working above the fire; weakened floor structures; being caught in the fire’s flow path; unknown fire load; ventilation issues; utility panels, hanging wires, meters, and connections; and appliances. These risks can lead to fire fighter entrapment from floor collapse, burns, and asphyxiation. Fire departments should conduct a complete 360 degree size-up to locate the fire, attack the fire externally, and reassess fire conditions prior to conducting interior operations.

Page last reviewed: August 2, 2018