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Lieutenant suffers sudden cardiac death after structure fire - Florida.

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 F2010-20, 2010 Sep; :1-12
On March 26, 2009, a 60-year-old male career Lieutenant (LT) responded to nine emergency calls. The last call was at 2012 hours for a structure fire. At the fire scene the LT forced entry into the structure and extinguished the fire with a portable fire extinguisher. He then performed overhaul with his crew. After returning to the station, the LT went to his bunkroom. Approximately 30 minutes later, he was found unresponsive in his bunkroom's chair. Despite cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and advanced life support (ALS) at the fire station, in the ambulance, and in the hospital's emergency department (ED), the LT died. The death certificate and the autopsy listed "coronary atherosclerosis with remote myocardial infarct" as the cause of death with "generalized atherosclerosis and pulmonary emphysema" as significant conditions. Given the LT's severe underlying coronary artery disease (CAD), NIOSH investigators concluded that the physical exertion involved in responding to nine calls and performing fire suppression and overhaul triggered his sudden cardiac death. NIOSH investigators offer the following recommendations to address general safety and health issues. It is unclear if these recommended programs would have prevented the LT's death. 1. Modify the FD's policy for conducting member exercise stress tests. 2. Phase in a comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters. 3. Ensure fire fighters are cleared for return to duty by a healthcare provider knowledgeable about the physical demands of fire fighting, the personal protective equipment used by fire fighters, and the various components of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1582. 4. Perform an annual physical performance (physical ability) evaluation for all members. 5. Discontinue lumbar spine x-rays as a screening test administered during the preplacement medical evaluation.
Region-4; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Cardiovascular-disease; Medical-examinations; Medical-screening; Physical-fitness; Cardiovascular-system; Medical-monitoring; Cardiac-function; Cardiovascular-function
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
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Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Services: Public Safety
SIC Code
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