NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Lieutenant suffers fatal heart attack during training - Ohio.
Baldwin T; Hales T
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 F2010-11, 2010 Sep; :1-15
On March 31, 2010, a 53-year-old male career Lieutenant (LT) reported for duty as the officer on Squad 91. During his shift he participated in the Fire Department's (FD) annual self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) endurance evaluation. After completing the first evolution in about 15-20 minutes, the LT complained of shoulder pain and sat down to rest. Shortly thereafter, both on-duty crews were dispatched to separate emergency calls. The LT did not respond with Squad 91, and crew members assumed the LT was either taking a shower or had responded with the other crew. Upon returning to the fire station about 1 hour later, crew members found the LT unresponsive in his bunkroom. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and advanced life support were begun, and the LT was transported to the local hospital's emergency department (ED). Advanced life support continued in the ED for an additional 10 minutes when he was pronounced dead by the ED physician. The autopsy, completed by the County Coroner, listed the cause of death as "acute thrombus of left anterior descending artery" due to "hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease." Given the LT's underlying coronary artery disease (CAD), NIOSH investigators concluded that the physical exertion involved in performing the SCBA endurance training triggered his acute heart attack and subsequent cardiac death. NIOSH investigators offer the following recommendations to address general safety and health issues. It is possible that if some of the recommended programs had been in place, the LT's death may have been prevented. 1. Incorporate exercise stress tests following standard medical guidelines into a Fire Department medical evaluation program. 2. Provide annual medical evaluations to all fire fighters consistent with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1582, Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments. 3. Ensure that fire fighters are cleared for return to duty by a physician knowledgeable about the physical demands of fire fighting, the personal protective equipment used by fire fighters, and the various components of NFPA 1582. 4. The following recommendations are made for safety and health reasons and would not have prevented the LT's death. 5. Provide preplacement medical evaluations to all fire fighters consistent with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1582. 6. Perform an annual physical performance (physical ability) evaluation for all members. 7. Phase in a comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters. 8. Use a secondary (technological) test to confirm appropriate placement of the endotracheal tube.
Region-5; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Physical-fitness; Medical-screening
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
Services: Public Safety
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