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Fire apparatus operator found unresponsive in bunk room after a ladder training drill - Virginia.

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 F2013-09, 2013 Jul; :1-9
On March 19, 2012, a 54-year-old male career fire apparatus operator (FAO) reported for duty and participated in a training drill that required climbing a 100-foot aerial ladder in full turnout gear and self contained breathing apparatus. The FAO easily climbed the ladder which took only about 2-3 minutes. Upon returning to the base of the ladder, the FAO did not report any unusual symptoms and showed no signs of distress. Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes later he was found unresponsive and pulseless on the floor near his bunk. Station members immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation and initiated advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). The FAO was transported to the local hospital's emergency department (ED) where resuscitation efforts were continued until the FAO was pronounced dead. The death certificate and autopsy report both listed the cause of death as "atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease." NIOSH investigators conclude that the FAO most likely died of a fatal arrhythmia. 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 (FD) across the country. 1. Phase in a mandatory comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters.
Region-4; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Heart; Medical-screening; Physical-stress; Physical-fitness; Training; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Self-contained-breathing-apparatus
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-F2013-09; B20130805
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