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Volunteer chief and fire fighter die after being ejected during a rollover crash - Virginia.

Miles S; Bowyer ME
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 F2010-19, 2011 Feb; :1-16
On July 26, 2010, a 59-year-old male volunteer fire chief (victim 1) and a 67-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (victim 2) died from injuries sustained after they were ejected when their engine was involved in a crash and rolled over. The engine, with its lights and siren activated, was responding to a mutual aid residential structure fire. The crash occurred when the engine entered an intersection with a red light and was struck by a sport utility vehicle. The engine rolled over and both victims were ejected. Victim 1 was transported to a local hospital and pronounced dead. Victim 2 was pronounced dead at the scene. Both victims were reported to not be wearing their seat belts. Contributing Factors: 1. Nonuse of seat belts. 2. Failure of the motorist to yield the right-of-way to an approaching emergency vehicle with audible and visual signals in use. 3. Failure to ensure that all approaching vehicles had yielded the right-of-way before advancing through an intersection. 4. Use of an older apparatus with minimal safety features. 5. Lack of intersection control device on emergency vehicle and traffic light. Key Recommendations: 1. Ensure that written standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding seat belt use are established and enforced. 2. Ensure that fire fighters use extreme caution while responding through intersections by coming to a full stop before entering a negative right-of-way intersection (red light, flashing red light, or stop sign) and by accounting for all lanes of traffic before proceeding through the intersection. 3. Consider upgrading, retiring, or replacing older fire apparatus. 4. Consider rollover protection for the crew areas of fire apparatus when upgrading or purchasing new apparatus.Additionally, states, municipalities, and authorities having jurisdiction should: 1. Take steps to ensure that motorists are aware of, understand, and follow state traffic codes/laws pertaining to yielding the right-of-way to approaching, authorized emergency vehicles using audible and visual signals. 2. Consider the use of intersection control devices on emergency vehicles and selected traffic lights.Fire apparatus manufacturers, researchers, and standard setting bodies should: 1. Continue to improve fire apparatus safety standards and designs for increased crashworthiness of compartments for fire fighter survivability in rollover crashes. 2. Continue to evaluate apparatus seating and seat belt design to ensure that riding positions and seat belts are comfortable and effective for fire fighters wearing personal protective equipment.
Region-3; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting-equipment; Motor-vehicles; Safety-practices; Safety-belts; Safety-equipment; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Emergency-responders; Surveillance
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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NIOSH Division
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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