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Deputy fire chief suffers sudden cardiac arrest about one hour after conducting a fire prevention inspection - California.

Hales TR
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 F2008-31, 2010 Mar; :1-13
On June 26, 2008, the Deputy Fire Chief reported to duty at 0800 hours. About three hours later he performed a fire prevention inspection of a local apartment building. Before returning to headquarters he stopped by one of the fire stations to visit with fellow fire fighters. While sitting at the kitchen table, the Deputy Chief collapsed. Despite immediate advance life support measures in the fire station, ambulance, and hospital emergency department, the Deputy Chief died. An autopsy performed by a forensic pathologist in the Office of the County Coroner concluded "left ventricular cardiac hypertrophy (years)" was the cause of death. The NIOSH investigator concluded that the Deputy Chief's sudden cardiac death was most likely due to a heart arrhythmia associated with high blood pressure, left ventricular hypertrophy, and an enlarged heart; a conclusion consistent with the County Coroner's autopsy report. The evidence does not suggest that the fire prevention inspection conducted by the Deputy Chief about an hour before his cardiac arrest triggered his heart arrhythmia. The NIOSH investigator offers the following recommendations to reduce the risk of on-duty heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths in this and other fire departments across the country. It is unlikely, however, that these recommendations could have prevented the Deputy Chief's sudden cardiac death. 1.) Ensure all uniformed members of the Fire Protection District receive annual medical and fitness evaluations. 2.) Limit the number of consecutive shifts a fire fighter can work.
Region-9; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Physical-fitness; Medical-screening; Blood-pressure; Physiological-factors; Physiology; Preventive-medicine
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Services: Public Safety
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Source Name
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