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Fire fighter-paramedic dies after performing physical fitness training - Florida.

Cincinnati, OH: 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 F2004-12, 2004 Aug; 1-10
On January 27, 2004, a 35-year-old male Fire Fighter-Paramedic (FF-P) had just finished jogging around a training building when he suddenly collapsed. Paramedic instructors and fellow students immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and advanced life support (ALS). An ambulance was summoned and ambulance personnel continued ALS during transport to the hospital. After 27 minutes of treatment in the hospital's emergency department, the FF-P was pronounced dead and resuscitation efforts were discontinued. The death certificate and the autopsy report, completed by the County Medical Examiner, listed "aortic valve stenosis" as the immediate cause of death. Other agencies have proposed a three-pronged strategy for reducing the risk of on-duty heart attacks and cardiac arrests among fire fighters. This strategy consists of: 1) minimizing physical stress on fire fighters; 2) screening to identify and subsequently rehabilitate individuals at higher risk; and 3) encouraging increased individual physical capacity. The following issues are relevant to this fire department: Conduct EST according to the ACC/AHA protocols. Although unrelated to this fatality, the fire department should consider these additional recommendations based on safety and economic considerations: 1. Phase in a mandatory wellness/fitness program for fire fighters to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and improve cardiovascular capacity; 2. Provide fire fighters with medical evaluations and clearance to wear self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA); 3. Perform an annual physical performance (physical ability) evaluation to ensure fire fighters are physically capable of performing the essential job tasks of structural fire fighting; 4. Discontinue the routine use of annual chest x-rays unless medically indicated; 5. Discontinue the routine use of annual electrocardiograms (EKG) unless medically indicated; and, 6. Provide adequate fire fighter staffing to ensure safe operating conditions.
Region-4; 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
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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: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division