On February 7, 2007, a 47-year-old male career fire fighter died after he was ejected from his fire engine when it was struck by a sport utility vehicle (SUV). The decedent was driving the fire engine with its lights and sirens activated enroute to a structure fire. The fire station lieutenant was seated in the front passenger seat. Two additional fire fighters were seated in the back seats behind the fire engine's front compartment. As the fire engine proceeded through an intersection, a speeding SUV struck the passenger side of the fire engine near the windshield. The decedent was ejected along with the lieutenant through the passenger front windshield. The lieutenant landed in the street in front of the SUV approximately ten yards away from the fire engine. After the decedent was ejected, he rolled underneath the fire engine. The fire engine came to rest on top of the decedent's chest. The decedent expired as the fire engine was removed from his chest. Although the other two fire fighters were not ejected, they sustained serious injuries. These two fire fighters and the lieutenant were taken by ambulance to a local hospital. The driver of the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene. Recommendations: 1. The use of seat belts should be mandatory when driving or riding in a fire engine or any emergency vehicle that is in motion. MIOSHA General Industry Safety Standard Part 74, Fire Fighting requires seat belt use when the apparatus is in motion. 2. Fire engines and other fire apparatus should be equipped with automatic seat belt systems or warning signals that require seat belt use for operation of the vehicles. 3. In accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1451, Standard for a Fire Service Vehicle Operations Training Program, driver training should be provided as often as necessary, but not less than twice a year. 4. In accordance with the NFPA 1451, formally written Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) should be developed and implemented for safe driving, defensive driving techniques, and riding within and operating fire department vehicles during an emergency and non-emergency response. 5. The SOP should have a procedure to evaluate the effectiveness of this training every three years in accordance with NFPA 1451. 6. All fire apparatus driver/operators shall meet the requirements as outlined in NFPA 1002, Standard for Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator Professional Qualifications. 7. In accordance with the NFPA 1451, all fire department vehicle drivers/operators should possess a valid vehicle operator's licensed as required by the State. 8. The SOPs should be communicated, applied and enforced by all fire fighters to ensure "Everyone Goes Home" as promoted by the National Fallen Fire Fighter Foundation. 9. All fire fighters should be encouraged to sign the "National Fire Service Seat Belt Pledge" to re-enforce the importance of wearing seat belts.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Safety-programs; Work-analysis; Work-performance; Training; Fire-fighters; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Warning-devices; Warning-systems; Safety-belts; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Drivers; Equipment-design; Equipment-reliability