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FFFIPP – Inspector General’s Program Review

The HHS Inspector General’s Office responds to Senator Kerry on its investigation of the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program

NIOSH appreciates the work of the Inspector General’s Office in its investigation of the fire fighter fatality investigation and prevention program (FFFIPP). As the investigation found, firefighter organizations “have publicly stated that the FFIPP has made a positive difference in preventing firefighter fatalities.”

The investigation concludes, “Our investigation into the allegations of potential misconduct by management within CDC/NIOSH did not find any evidence of wrongdoing related to preventing investigators from examining PASS devices as part of firefighter fatality investigations. The NIOSH FFFIPP conducted its investigations within its authority and according to investigative processes consistent with its mandate.”

The investigation noted “several critical areas where the program could be enhanced.” We will review the findings and recommendations closely, and will respond appropriately. One hallmark of the program has been the engagement of our partners and stakeholders to seek data and feedback to guide future direction of the program. We all take seriously our shared mission of preventing fatalities and injuries among firefighters.

Inspector General’s Letter to Senator John Kerry [PDF 825 KB]

NIOSH Responds to Recommendations
From the inception of the program, NIOSH has valued stakeholder advice and input, and we have stood ready to make changes that reflect ongoing experience with the program, evolving knowledge about factors that put fire fighters at risk of injury and death, and new needs identified by our fire service and safety partners. Input from partners in 2006 – which we encouraged through a survey of U.S. fire departments, a public docket, and a public meeting – was instrumental in helping us set future directions for the program, as we announced earlier this year. NIOSH looks forward to continuing to enhance the FFIPP with the input of these recommendations. We regard it as a great privilege that we have a role in conducting research and making recommendations to help prevent line-of-duty injuries and deaths among the heroes of the fire service.