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Volunteer fire fighter dies after falling from a rope - Minnesota.

Miles S; Merinar T
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 F2011-12, 2011 Oct; :1-11
On May 23, 2011, a 35-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (victim) died after falling from a rope he was climbing after the conclusion of a ropes skills class. The department was conducting a ropes and mechanical advantage haul systems training session that consisted of classroom and practical skills intended to provide the fire fighters rope skills. The drill had concluded and the students were in the process of breaking down the drill site and putting the equipment away. The victim and two fire fighters were standing in front of the tower ladder when the victim decided to climb one of two suspended ropes in an attempt to access the other suspended rope. The victim was climbing up a rope that had been used to demonstrate rope haul systems and attempted to grab another rope out of his reach. The victim likely lost his grip on the rope and fell to the asphalt pavement striking his head. Emergency medical aid was administered by fellow fire fighters and he was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries. The medical examiner reported the cause of death as blunt force head trauma. Contributing Factors: 1. Lack of a safety officer, 2. Lack of proper personal protective equipment, 3. Student to instructor ratio. Key Recommendations: 1. Fire departments should ensure that a qualified safety officer (meeting the qualifications defined in NFPA 1521) is appointed in practical skills training environments, 2. Fire departments should ensure that minimum levels of personal protective equipment are established for practical skills training environments (as defined in NFPA 1500), 3. Fire departments should ensure that sufficient instructors or assistant instructors are available for the number of students expected to participate in practical skills training evolutions. Additionally, states, municipalities and authorities having jurisdiction should take steps to ensure that ropes and equipment used in emergency services practical skills training are inspected and records are kept on the purchase, use and inspection of the ropes and equipment (as defined in NFPA 1500 4.6.5) .
Region-5; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Injury-prevention; Accident-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Emergency-responders; Fire-fighting-equipment; Accidents; Injuries; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Training; Fall-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Safety-equipment; Surveillance
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
Identifying No.
FACE-F2011-12; B11122011
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Public Safety
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: March 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division