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Firefighter Suffers Heart Attack After Participating in a Parade – New York


FF ShieldDeath in the Line of Duty…A summary of a NIOSH fire fighter fatality investigation

F2016-08 Date Released: August 29, 2016

Executive Summary

On August 22, 2015, a 40-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (FF) responded with an assistant chief to aide in command of a fire at an assisted living facility. On arrival, he found the fire had been extinguished. He departed to a neighboring town and marched approximately 1 mile in a parade. Approximately 90 minutes after completing the parade, the FF became unresponsive when being driven back to the fire station by another Fire Department (FD) member. The driver proceeded directly to a nearby ambulance station. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was initiated. Following placement of an automated external defibrillator, three shocks were provided. The FF was transported to the hospital emergency department (ED) where his EKG indicated a heart attack. Despite advance care he was pronounced dead at 2305 hours.

The death certificate and autopsy listed atherosclerotic coronary heart disease as the immediate cause of death. Cardiomegaly and obesity were identified as significant conditions contributing to death. The autopsy revealed severe stenosis in the left anterior descending coronary artery, cardiomegaly, and left ventricular hypertrophy. NIOSH investigators concluded that the physical stress of participating in a parade on a warm summer day may have triggered his heart attack.

Key Recommendations

  • Phase in a mandatory comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters.


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