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Volunteer fire fighter dies and 5 volunteer fire fighters are injured during wildland urban interface fire - Texas.

Loflin ME; Campbell C
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 F2011-09, 2011 Dec; :1-28
On April 15, 2011, a 50-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (the victim) died at a wildland urban interface incident from blunt force trauma from either being struck by or run over by a fire vehicle during fire-fighting operations in smoky conditions with very limited visibility. The victim was trying to escape from a fire that was about to overrun and consume the brush truck that he was driving. The victim left the brush truck and attempted to escape on foot. At the time of the incident, five other brush trucks and five tankers were attempting to leave the area at the same time. Visibility deteriorated very quickly due to the advancing fire, smoke, and wind conditions. Due to heavy smoke conditions, the victim was not located until after the fire had burned through the area. A fire chief from a neighboring department found the deceased fire fighter in the ditch line of a county roadway. Contributing Factors: 1. Ineffective incident management. 2. Ineffective personnel accountability system. 3. Lack of situational awareness. 4. Lack of common radio frequency. 5. A safety zone and escape route were not effectively communicated to all fire fighters. 6. Failure to use a fire shelter from the approaching fire. 7. Weather conditions. Key Recommendations: 1. An Incident Management System should be used to manage wildland urban interface incidents. 2. The Incident Commander should use division/group supervisors to ensure effective tactical level management. 3. A personnel accountability system should be used to account for all fire fighters and first responders assigned to the incident. 4. Fire departments should ensure that the communication system meets the requirements for daily and complex incidents. 5. Lookouts, communications, escape routes, and safety zone (LCES) should be established and used at each wildland incident. 6. Provide fire fighters with approved fire shelters and provide training on the proper deployment of the fire shelters. 7. Fire fighters who engage in wildland fire-fighting should use personal protective equipment which meets NFPA 1977, Standard on Protective Clothing and Equipment for Wildland Fire Fighting. 8. Fire fighters who engage in wildland fire-fighting should be trained to meet the minimum training requirements as required by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) or NFPA 1051, Standard for Wildland Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications. 9. Fire departments and fire service agencies should ensure that fire fighters fully comply with "The 10 Standard Fire Orders "and are aware of the "18 Watchout Situations" and "Common Denominators of Fire Behavior on Tragedy Fires." Additionally, states, municipalities, and authorities having jurisdiction, should consider requiring mandatory wildland fire training for fire fighters.
Region-6; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Fire-fighting-equipment; Motor-vehicles; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Fire-safety; Surveillance
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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Priority Area
Public Safety
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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