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Fire fighter dies of heat stroke while making a fire line during a wildland fire in California.

Public Health Institute
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 97CA010, 1997 Oct; :1-5
A 21-year old fire fighter (decedent) died, another fire fighter was overcome by heat stroke and two others by heat exhaustion during the construction of a fire line during a small, wildland fire which occurred in an area of steep slopes. The group to which these fire fighters belonged underwent 1 to 1-1/2 hours of physical training on the morning of the fire. Thereafter, they practiced cutting a fire line for 1 hour just prior to being called to the fire scene. Fire fighters were wearing standard gear including work pants under Nomex pants and a Nomex shirt with no lining worn over a white T-shirt. Of the crew interviewed by the employer, 80% had symptoms of heat illness. The decedent had been ill the day prior to the incident. The ambient temperature at the time of the incident was 98 degrees F and the relative humidity was approximately 30%. The CA/FACE investigator concluded, that in order to prevent future occurrences, fire agencies should: 1. Require supervisors to regularly monitor firefighters, using generally accepted methods, during periods of high heat stress. 2. Assure firefighters workloads are appropriate for their level of acclimatization. 3. Assure firefighters workloads are appropriate for ambient weather conditions and clothing.
Region-9; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Fire-hazards; Fire-protection; Fire-safety; Heat-exhaustion; Heat-exposure; Heat-stress; Heat-stroke; Emergency-responders
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-97CA010; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-907284
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division