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Fire fighter-paramedic suffers sudden cardiac death during ice rescue training - New Hampshire.

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 F2011-03, 2011 Apr; :1-13
On January 16, 2011, a 46-year-old male volunteer fire fighter-paramedic (FF/P) participated in ice rescue training. During the training, the FF/P played the role of the victim. After the last evolution, the FF/P walked approximately 400 feet in 13 inches of snow toward the staging area when he complained of shortness of breath. After a transport ambulance arrived, the FF/P went into cardiac arrest. Crew members and ambulance personnel provided cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and advanced life support as the FF/P was transported to the local hospital's emergency department (ED). CPR and advanced life support continued in the ED for an additional 31 minutes until the ED physician pronounced him dead. The death certificate and the autopsy listed "coronary artery atherosclerosis" as the cause of death. Given the FF/P's underlying coronary artery disease (CAD), NIOSH investigators concluded that the physical exertion involved in the training and in walking through the snow triggered a cardiac arrhythmia resulting in his sudden cardiac death. NIOSH investigators offer the following recommendations to address general safety and health issues. However, it is unclear whether these recommendations could have prevented the FF/P's death. 1. Provide preplacement and annual medical evaluations to all fire fighters. 2. Ensure 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 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1582. 3. Phase in a comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters. 4. Perform a preplacement and an annual physical performance (physical ability) evaluation. 5. Provide fire fighters with medical clearance to wear self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) as part of the Fire Department's medical evaluation program. 6. Conduct annual respirator fit testing.
Region-1; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Physical-fitness; Medical-screening; Physical-stress; Training; Personal-protective-equipment; Self-contained-breathing-apparatus; Protective-equipment
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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