Morgantown, WV: 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 F2000-10, 2000 Jul; :1-10
On October 28, 1999 a 57-year-old Captain (Victim #1), and a 23-year-old fire fighter/driver (Victim #2) from a volunteer fire department died, after the tanker they were responding in veered off the road, and then turned over and rolled several times in a corn field. The incident occurred while they were responding in Tanker 3 to a mutual aid call which had been dispatched as a grass fire, and which threatened nearby structures. The tanker was traveling west on a two-lane state road. As it approached the curve, the driver (Victim #2) lost control of the tanker. It drifted towards the shoulder of the road, as the driver tried to correct the direction of travel. Just past the curve it veered off the road and into a corn field. The tanker rolled on the passenger side (Victim #1's side), and continued to roll several times. Victim #2 was ejected out the driver's side window. Victim #1 was entrapped in the crushed upside-down cab and had to be extricated. He was transported to a local hospital and remained conscious and able to communicate, but died 7 days after the incident. Victim #2 was transported by ambulance to a local hospital then flown by life flight helicopter to a trauma center. He remained hospitalized and was conscious, but was unable to communicate and died 86 days after the incident. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar incidents, fire departments should: ensure that operators of emergency vehicles operate them in a safe condition to avoid a skid; ensure that all fire fighters riding in emergency fire apparatus are wearing and are belted securely by seat belts; develop and follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) for safe operation of emergency vehicles. Although there is no evidence that they contributed to this fatal event, Recommendations #4, #5, and #6 are being provided as a reminder of good safety policy: develop and document an inspection, maintenance, and repair schedule for fire apparatus; establish and maintain proper scene control and management; ensure that all fire fighters have attended and successfully completed the minimal fire fighter training; requirements required by their state and/or department.