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Career fire fighter dies from fall off fire escape ladder - Illinois.

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 F2010-25, 2011 Jun; :1-12
On August 09, 2010, a 31 year-old male career fire fighter (the victim) died from a fall while climbing a fire escape ladder. Crews were responding to an alarm at a 4 story mixed occupancy structure. When crews arrived at 0031 hours, they noticed sparks emitting from the top of the roof near an external exhaust duct that originated in a street level restaurant. The victim and three other fire fighters were using an exterior fire escape to access the roof. At the fourth floor landing the victim started to ascend the vertical ladder to the roof carrying a 63 pound hand pump in his right hand while being supported by a fire fighter on the landing. When out of reach of the supporting fire fighter, the victim lost his grip on the ladder falling 53 feet to the pavement. The victim was transported to the local medical center where he was pronounced dead. Contributing Factors: 1. Using a fire escape to access the roof rather than a safer means such as an aerial ladder or interior stairway; 2. Victim unable to maintain contact with the vertical portion of fire escape due to carrying the hand pump. Key Recommendations: 1. Ensure that standard operating guidelines (SOGs) on the use of fire escapes are developed, implemented, and enforced; 2. Ensure that tactical level accountability is implemented and enforced; 3. Ensure that companies are rigorously trained in safe procedures for roof operations and climbing ladders of any type; 4. Ensure that fire fighters are rigorously trained in safe procedures for carrying and/or hoisting equipment when ascending or descending elevations; 5. Evaluate the fire prevention inspection guidelines and process to ensure that they address high hazard occupancies, such as restaurant, and incorporate operational crew participation.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Emergency-responders; Fire-fighters; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Work-environment; Work-practices; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Accidents; Traumatic-injuries; Ladders; Surveillance
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: January 7, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division