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Career fire fighter dies from injuries when stationary fill tank becomes over-pressurized and suffers catastrophic failure - California.

Washenitz FC-II; Koedam RE; Current R
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 F2001-26, 2002 Jul; :1-12
On July 26, 2001, a 36-year-old male career fire fighter (the victim) was killed while filling the water tank of a new engine. A stationary fill tank was being used as part of the fill operation. The fill tank became over-pressurized by the engine's booster pump and suffered catastrophic failure. The tank was catapulted approximately 100 feet vertically into the air, landing on top of the front left corner of the engine's cab. The victim was standing immediately outside the cab while operating a switch inside the cab and was struck as the tank fell to the ground. Fire fighters and paramedics on the scene provided immediate medical treatment. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital where he died the next day. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to prevent similar incidents, fire departments should: 1. develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) for filling engine water tanks and ensure that they apply to new equipment prior to operation; 2. ensure that engine water tanks are filled using the inlet tank fill connections(s); 3. ensure that stationary fill tanks are fitted with a clapper valve or check valve to prevent backfilling or back pressure; and, 4. ensure that fire fighters are properly trained before operating new equipment. Additionally, manufacturers and fire departments should ensure that fire apparatus are designed and built according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.
Region-9; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting-equipment; Emergency-responders; Accident-prevention; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: March 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division