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Lieutenant dies while directing interior ventilation and primary search operations at a fire in a three-story dwelling - Pennsylvania.
Baldwin TN; Sexson SK; Brown SE
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, FACE 99-F23, 2000 Jan; :1-9
On January 27, 1998, a 47-year-old male Lieutenant responded to a fire in a three-story dwelling. While laddering the building and directing interior ventilation and primary search operations, the victim had an unwitnessed collapse. He was found by a firefighter returning for further instructions. After approximately 55 to 60 minutes of CPR and advanced life support (ALS) on scene and at the hospital, a normal heart rhythm was regained. Neurologic consultation was requested and tests indicated that the victim's unwitnessed collapse resulted in anoxic encephalopathy (brain death), so he was taken off life support and died on February 3, 1998. The death certificate and the autopsy, completed by the City Medical Examiner, listed "acute myocardial infarction" due to "atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease" as the immediate cause of death and "smoke and soot inhalation" as significant conditions. Other agencies have proposed a three-pronged strategy for reducing the risk of on-duty heart attacks and cardiac arrests among fire fighters. This strategy consists of (1) minimizing physical stress on fire fighters; (2) screening to identify and subsequently rehabilitate high risk individuals; and (3) encouraging increased individual physical capacity. The following issues are relevant to this fire department: Fire Fighters should have annual medical evaluations to determine their medical ability to perform duties without presenting a significant risk to the safety and health of themselves or others; Reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and improve cardiovascular capacity by phasing in a mandatory wellness/fitness program for fire fighters; All personnel entering a potentially hazardous atmosphere should wear an SCBA.
Fire-fighting; Cardiovascular-disease; Heart; Smoke-inhalation; Respirators; Myocardial-disorders; Region-3;
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division