Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Fire Fighters Working at Basement and Other Below-Grade Fires
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2018-154
Firefighters 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 firefighter 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.