On November 17, 2003, a 35-year-old male career Fire Fighter-Paramedic (FF-P) had just completed a two-mile run on the fire station's treadmill when he suddenly collapsed. The collapse was witnessed by a crew member (Lieutenant) who called Dispatch for assistance. Approximately 30 seconds later, the FF-P had stopped breathing and became pulseless. The crew member retrieved the station's automated external defibrillator (AED) and defibrillated the FF-P while beginning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Other advanced life support (ALS) began to arrive at the fire station and resuscitation efforts continued for an additional 22 minutes. Unfortunately, there was no change in his status, and the FF-P was pronounced dead at the scene by the Medical Examiner. The death certificate and autopsy, completed and performed by the Medical Examiner, listed "occlusive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease" as the immediate cause of death. The following recommendations address some general health and safety issues. This list includes some preventive measures that have been recommended by other agencies to reduce the risk of on-the-job heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest among fire fighters. These selected recommendations have not been evaluated by NIOSH, but represent published research, or consensus votes of technical committees of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) or fire service labor/management groups. Although unrelated to this fatality, the Fire Department should consider these recommendations based on health and economic considerations: 1. Provide pre-placement medical evaluations to ALL fire fighters consistent with NFPA 1582 to determine their medical ability to perform duties without presenting a significant risk to the safety and health of themselves or others. 2. Provide mandatory annual medical evaluations to ALL fire fighters consistent with NFPA 1582 to determine their medical ability to perform duties without presenting a significant risk to the safety and health of themselves or others. 3. Perform a pre-placement and an annual physical performance (physical ability) evaluation for ALL fire fighters to ensure they are physically capable of performing the essential job tasks of structural fire fighting. 4. Provide adequate fire fighter staffing to ensure safe operating conditions.
Region-10; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-function; Cardiovascular-system; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Fire-fighters; Fire-safety; Medical-examinations; Medical-monitoring; Medical-screening; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-safety-programs; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Training