On October 16, 1999, four volunteer fire fighters (Chief and two fire fighters from Volunteer Department #1 and a Chief from Volunteer Department #2) responded to a request for assistance in fighting wildland brush fires that were endangering several structures. The brush fires were burning approximately 60 miles east of the departments' home location. The fire fighters traveled in two different vehicles. The two volunteer Chiefs brought the engine, and one male and one female fire fighter (the victim) drove a privately owned vehicle (POV) to the brush fires, stopping along the way to pick up some refreshments. After meeting up with the two Chiefs on the engine, the four assisted in fighting brush fires, then they proceeded down the highway to look for structures endangered by fire. A determination was made to relocate the POV, so the Chief stopped the engine across the highway from the POV. The victim and the Chief from Volunteer Department #1 intended to ride together in the POV; however, unknown to the Chief in the engine, the victim picked up some soft drinks from the POV and proceeded back across the highway to the engine. The victim apparently stepped up on the sideboard of the engine and was going to pass the soft drinks through the pass-through window when the Chief started to move the engine forward. The victim lost her balance, and she turned and jumped toward the center of the highway, landing in a squatting position and off balance. She then fell backward toward the slow-moving engine, and her head was caught by the rear dual wheels. NIOSH investigators concluded that to minimize similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1) ensure fire fighters are aware of individual roles and responsibilities when members have not worked together. 2) ensure effective communications between crew members. 3) ensure fire fighters are aware of responsibilities regarding getting on and off an apparatus.