On January 21, 2004, a 48-year-old male career Fire Fighter-Paramedic (FF-P) provided station coverage in his fire station while his fire department (FD) was providing mutual aid to a neighboring FD. While in the station, he stocked the FD's new ambulance with supplies. When the crew members returned, he returned to his off-duty business. On January 22, approximately 21 hours after providing station coverage, the FF-P was working at his off-duty business when he suddenly collapsed. Despite cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) performed by a bystander and advanced life support (ALS) performed by ambulance service emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics, he died. The death certificate listed "acute sudden cardiac death syndrome" due to "acute myocardial infarction" as the immediate cause of death and "obesity" as another significant condition. No autopsy was performed. The following recommendations address some general health and safety issues. 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: 1. Implement the annual medical evaluations mandated by the State in 1996 or recommended by NFPA 1582; 2. Phase in a mandatory wellness/fitness program for fire fighters to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and improve cardiovascular capacity; and, 3. Perform an annual physical performance (physical ability) evaluation for ALL fire fighters to ensure fire fighters are physically capable of performing the essential job tasks of structural fire fighting. The following recommendations are safety and health measures, but not contributory to this fatality: 1. Perform an autopsy on all on-duty fire fighter fatalities; 2. Provide pre-placement medical evaluations to ALL fire fighters consistent with NFPA 1582 or State mandate to determine their medical ability to perform duties without presenting a significant risk to the safety and health of themselves or others; and, 3. Provide adequate fire fighter staffing to ensure safe operating conditions.
Region-1; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Heart; Physical-stress; Physical-fitness; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Medical-screening; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-function; Cardiovascular-system; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Medical-examinations; Medical-monitoring; Medical-screening