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Fire fighter collapses at residential fire due to sudden cardiac event - New York.

Smith DL; 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 F2012-15, 2013 Mar; :1-12
On December 8, 2011, a 54-year-old male career fire fighter (FF) responded with his engine crew (Engine 4) to a structure fire. As the FF was preparing to enter the structure he suddenly collapsed. Fire Department (FD) members witnessed the collapse and after finding him unresponsive and pulseless, retrieved an external automated defibrillator (AED) from a nearby apparatus. The AED was attached to the FF and a shock was advised and delivered three times. Paramedics arrived on scene and provided advanced life support (ALS) which continued en route to the hospital's emergency department (ED). Despite early defibrillation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and ALS, the FF died. The death certificate and autopsy report listed the cause of death as "stenosing coronary arteriosclerosis: status post coronary artery stent and by-pass; cardiomegaly." NIOSH investigators conclude that given the FF's underlying coronary heart disease (CHD), responding to the structure fire alarm probably triggered his sudden cardiac death. NIOSH offers the following recommendations to reduce the risk of heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest among fire fighters at this and other fire departments across the country. 1. Ensure that all firefighters receive an annual medical evaluation in accordance with NFPA 1582, Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments. 2. Ensure fire fighters are cleared for duty by a physician knowledgeable about the physical demands of firefighting, the personal protective equipment used by fire fighters, and the various components of NFPA 1582. 3. Phase in a mandatory comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters.
Region-2; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Physical-fitness; Medical-screening; Physical-stress
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
Identifying No.
FACE-F2012-15; B20130416
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Public Safety
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division