NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Motor-vehicle incident claims the life of a volunteer fire fighter and injures a volunteer chief - Virginia.

Cortez K; Schmidt E
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 F2000-01, 2000 Oct; :1-11
On December 18, 1999, a 22-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (the victim) died and a 30-year-old volunteer District Chief was injured after the rescue truck he was driving veered off the road, struck an oncoming car and then a tree. The incident occurred while they were responding to a reported gas leak at a private residence. The volunteer District Chief (driver) and a fire fighter (the victim) responded in Rescue 49. While en route, the driver looked down at the dashboard to lower his response priority by shutting off his lights and siren. While doing so, the truck's right side tires dropped off the road surface into a ditch. During the driver's efforts to bring the truck back onto the roadway, he overcompensated, causing the truck to cross the oncoming lane of traffic and strike an oncoming car. Just prior to striking the car, the driver started steering the truck back to the right to avoid a second collision. Due to the momentum of the truck, it struck a tree and flipped onto the driver's side. Seconds after the wreck, the driver crawled out of his loose seat belt and out of the truck. Several residents called Central Dispatch to report the incident. The driver was taken by an ambulance to a local hospital where he was treated and released. The victim, who was trapped inside the vehicle, was removed and taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. NIOSH investigators concluded that to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1) take into consideration the movement required by the driver to reach switches and electronic devices, when developing apparatus specifications; 2) ensure that all drivers of fire department vehicles are responsible for the safe and prudent operation of the vehicle under all conditions; 3) ensure that the placement of additional equipment (e.g. radios and map card boxes) added to an apparatus does not interfere with the driver's ability to operate controls; 4) consider using mobile data terminals inside the apparatus to aid the driver/operator in finding the exact location of the emergency call; 5) consider limiting the number of initial responding apparatus to emergency incidents.
Region 3; Fire fighters; Fire fighting equipment; Equipment design; Accident prevention; Emergency responders; Safety equipment; Safety measures; Traumatic injuries; Motor vehicles
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
SIC Code
Source Name
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