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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-94-0244-2431, Memphis Fire Department, Memphis, Tennessee.

Pettit TA; Merinar TR
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, HETA 94-0244-2431, 1994 Jun; :1-33
In response to a request from the International Association of Fire Fighters for assistance in investigating the deaths of two fire fighters in the Memphis Fire Department (SIC-9224), Memphis, Tennessee, an investigation was launched into possible failure of self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) used by the fire fighters, and the training and responsibilities of personnel using such gear during the conduct of their jobs. The fire fighters had been involved in fighting a blaze at an 11 story apartment building. The investigation included interviewing several of the fire personnel, a site visit to the apartment building, a review of respirator maintenance records, and an evaluation of four SCBA units worn by the first responders to the fire. In spite of department policy, the fire fighters had used an elevator to go to the ninth floor. Each of the SCBA units tested failed at least two of five performance tests. Close accountability for personnel at the scene was not maintained. Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) devices worn by both victims had not been activated. The authors conclude that lapses in adherence to established policies, the respiratory maintenance program, accountability at the fire scene, and PASS use were contributing factors. The authors recommend that there be adherence to the established departmental policies and procedures at a fire scene, that an adequate respirator maintenance program be implemented, that fire fighter accountability at a fire scene be improved, and that the PASS devices be used at a fire scene.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-94-0244-2431; Hazard-Confirmed; Region-4; Firemen; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Fire-hazards; Work-practices; Safety-equipment; Fire-fighting; Personal-protective-equipment; Author Keywords: Fire Departments; fire fighters; death; self-contained breathing apparatus; SCBA
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division