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Career fire fighter dies while conducting a search in a residential house fire - Kansas.

Bowyer ME; Miles S
Morgantown, WV: 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 F2010-13, 2011 Jan; :1-24
On May 22, 2010, a 33-year-old male career fire fighter (the victim) died while conducting a search in a residential house fire after vomiting, removing his facepiece, and inhaling products of combustion. A captain and the victim entered the 6,000 square foot residential structure with an uncharged 1 ¾" hoseline to perform search and rescue operations for an elderly occupant and a dog, while an attack crew began fire suppression operations in another part of the structure. After locating and extricating the dog, the captain and the victim continued the search in increasingly heavy black smoke. The victim became separated from the captain after he vomited, clogging his nose cup. The victim tried to clear his mask and verbally called out that he was in trouble. The captain called a Mayday and immediately began searching for him. Two rapid intervention teams (RITs) also searched for the victim. The victim was found approximately 11 minutes later and approximately 24 feet from where he was last seen. The RIT crew removed him from the structure to the front yard where paramedics performed medical care. The victim was transported to the local medical center where he was pronounced dead. After the incident it was determined that the elderly occupant was not at home. Contributing Factors: Fire fighter became ill causing a self-contained breathing apparatus emergency and a separation from his captain. The location of the victim was not immediately known. Fire growth contributed heavy smoke, zero visibility and heat conditions. Key Recommendations: 1.) Develop, implement, and train on a procedure that addresses what to do if the self- contained breathing apparatus becomes inoperable due to a clogged nose cup, such as with vomitus. 2.) Ensure that fire fighters are trained on primary search and rescue procedures which include maintaining crew integrity, entering structures with charged hoselines, and following hoselines in low visibility. 3.) Ensure that fire fighters are trained and retrained on Mayday competencies. 4.) Ensure that staffing levels are appropriate to perform critical tasks. Additionally, state and local governments should: 5.) Adopt and enforce requirements for automatic fire sprinkler protection in new buildings.
Region-6; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Emergency-responders; Fire-fighters; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Work-environment; Work-practices; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Accidents; Traumatic-injuries; Surveillance
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Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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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