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Volunteer fire fighter dies and three fire fighters are injured during wildland fire - Texas.
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 F2011-10, 2012 Jan; :1-25
On April 9, 2011, a 49 year-old male volunteer fire fighter (the victim) suffered third-degree burns over 60% of his body while operating at a wildland fire. The victim was riding in one of two fire department brush trucks that became stuck in sand. The four fire fighters abandoned their apparatus and walked southeast towards the nearest road to escape the fire. Approximately 300 yards from the apparatus, the fire fighters became separated due to poor visibility. The Incident Commander (IC) and the driver of the victim's brush truck later found the victim approximately 1-1½ miles from the abandoned brush truck. The victim was lying on a "dozer" road, suffering from severe burns to his upper torso. The IC transported the victim to the "Medical Group" for treatment and transport to the local hospital. The victim was later transferred to a large metropolitan hospital burn center where he died on April 20, 2011. Contributing Factors: 1. Ineffective situational awareness. 2. Ineffective training on wildland fire-fighting. 3. Ineffective personnel accountability system. 4. Ineffective personal protective equipment. 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. Key Recommendations: 1. Ensure that the Incident Commander conducts a continuous risk assessment of the incident in terms of savable lives, savable property, and fire fighter safety. 2. 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. 3. Fire departments and fire service agencies should ensure that fire fighters fully comply with "The Standard Fire Orders" and are aware of the "18 Watchout Situations" and "Common Denominators of Fire Behavior on Tragedy Fires." 4. Lookouts, communications, escape routes, and safety zones (LCES) should be established and communicated to all fire fighters. 5. Fire fighters who engage in wildland fire-fighting should use personal protective equipment that meets NFPA 1977, Standard on Protective Clothing and Equipment for Wildland Fire Fighting. 6. A personnel accountability system should be used to account for all fire fighters and first responders assigned to any incident. 7. Provide fire fighters with approved fire shelters and provide training on the proper deployment of the fire shelters. 8. Fire departments should ensure apparatus driver/operators are familiar with the operation of their apparatus, especially when driving off-road. Additionally, governing municipalities (federal, state, regional, and local) should consider requiring mandatory training for wildland fire fighters.
Region-6; Accident-analysis; Accidents; Accident-prevention; Injury-prevention; Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Training; Safety-measures; Safety-education; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Protective-measures; Protective-equipment; Protective-clothing; Fire-fighting-equipment; Burns; Surveillance
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
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