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Volunteer fire fighter struck and killed by backing fire apparatus at rural brush and structure fire - Illinois.

Merinar TR
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 F2012-31, 2013 Jun; :1-23
On December 2, 2012, a 45-year-old male volunteer fire fighter died when he was struck by a backing fire apparatus at the scene of a rural brush fire that had extended into a vacant structure. The victim was one-of-two fire fighters on the first-arriving fire apparatus (brush truck). The victim immediately got out of the apparatus and positioned himself behind the apparatus on the driver-side to direct the driver in backing the brush truck up a steep incline in the gravel roadway to get closer to the burning structure. The victim tripped or fell and was struck by the backing brush truck. The second due fire apparatus arrived on-scene just as the incident occurred and crew members helped with emergency medical efforts. There were a number of bystanders in the area but there were no known eye-witnesses to the incident. The incident occurred at night in a poorly-lighted rural area. Contributing Factors: 1. Narrow un-even road surface. 2. Dark, poorly-lit conditions with fire burning behind the victim. 3. Victim was not wearing an adequate amount of hi-visibility retro-reflective clothing. 4. A flashlight or other signaling device not used. 5. Backing a manual transmission fire apparatus up a steep incline. Key Recommendations: 1. Fire departments should ensure that standard operating procedures regarding the safe backing of fire apparatus are in place and enforced. 2. Fire departments should ensure that all fire fighters are trained in and recognize the importance of situational awareness. 3. Fire departments should ensure that all fire fighters wear the appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment, including high visibility clothing that meets the requirements of NFPA 1500 and NFPA 1971. 4. Fire departments and authorities having jurisdiction should consider retiring and replacing fire apparatus after they have reached 25 years of age. 5. Fire departments and authorities having jurisdiction should be aware of programs that provide assistance in obtaining alternative funding, such as grant funding, to replace or purchase fire apparatus and equipment. 6. Fire departments, authorities having jurisdiction and apparatus manufacturers should consider evaluating and equipping older fire apparatus and vehicles with current safety equipment to assist drivers during backing operations (e.g., rear view video cameras, automatic sensing devices, additional mirrors, etc.).
Region-5; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Fire-safety; Emergency-responders; Training; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Motor-vehicles; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Fire-fighting-equipment; Protective-clothing; Signal-devices; Surveillance
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-F2012-31; B20130718
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Public Safety
SIC Code
Source Name
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