On October 29, 2007, four male career fire fighters ranging in ages from 23 to 38 years were injured while providing interior exposure protection at a residential row house fire. The victims had advanced a 1 ½-inch handline up to the second floor of the exposure building where they encountered heavy smoke and fire in a room in the back of the structure. Fire fighting and search activities commenced and shortly thereafter and without warning, the fire progressed up the stairwell from the first floor and up the exterior back wall temporarily trapping the victims. All four victims retreated down the stairwell and out of the building where they were met by other fire fighters who provided assistance. Each of the victims suffered burn injuries. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1. ensure adequate size-up, including in exposure buildings, to reduce the risk of fire fighters being trapped; 2. ensure that fire fighters are trained on the hazards of operating on the floor above the fire without a charged hoseline, and to follow associated standard operating guidelines (SOGs); 3. ensure ventilation is coordinated with the interior attack; 4. provide fire fighters with station/work uniforms (e.g., pants and shirts) that are compliant with NFPA 1975 and ensure the use and proper care of these garments; 5. ensure that fire fighters are trained on initiating Mayday radio transmissions immediately when they are in distress, and/or become lost or trapped. Although the following does not appear to have been a contributing factor in the injuries resulting from this incident, NIOSH recommends that as a good safety practice, fire departments should ensure all fire fighting personal protective equipment ensembles meet NFPA 1971 and are cleaned and maintained according to NFPA 1851.
Region-3; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Fire-fighting-equipment; Fire-hazards; Fire-safety; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Burns; Training; Protective-clothing; Protective-equipment; Protective-materials; Protective-measures; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Surveillance