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Career fire captain dies when struck by a pickup truck while working at the scene of two traffic incidents - California.

Lutz V
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 F2012-07, 2013 Jul; :1-24
On February 29, 2012, a 35-year-old male career Captain (the Victim) was struck and killed by a pickup truck as it slid off of an interstate highway following a hail storm that had caused numerous motor vehicle crashes. The Victim and a fire fighter were dispatched to an area of the highway where two vehicles had slid off of the roadway in the same location but in two separate incidents. The driver of one of the vehicles, a highway patrol officer, the fire fighter, and the Victim were standing near the roadway to the rear of the parked fire department patrol vehicle when an out-of-control pickup truck slid toward them. The fire fighter ran to the front of the fire patrol vehicle and was not injured. The highway patrol officer suffered injuries from diving to the ground and falling. The Victim and the civilian driver were unable to get out of the truck's path and were struck as the truck rolled down the embankment. The highway patrol officer and the civilian driver were injured and transported to a local medical center. The Victim was transported by ambulance to the local medical center where he was pronounced dead from multiple blunt force trauma. Contributing Factors: 1. Motorist traveling at an excessive speed for the road conditions. 2. Motorist lost control of vehicle while passing a highway emergency scene. 3. Weather / hail storm resulted in a slippery road surface. 4. Victim's location with respect to out-of-control vehicle. Key Recommendations: 1. Develop, train on, and enforce standard operating procedures (SOPs) for roadway incidents that include response protocols for all possible types, locations, and durations of emergency roadway incidents that may occur within the department's jurisdiction. 2. Develop pre-incident plans regarding response protocols, scene safety, and traffic control for roadway emergency work zones in conjunction with public safety agencies, traffic management organizations and private sector responders. 3. Ensure that all members receive guidance and training for responding to roadway incidents, with specific instruction on positioning apparatus and personnel to protect emergency workers from oncoming traffic. 4. Develop and train members on a situational awareness program that addresses hazards specific to working at a roadway emergency work zone. 5. Ensure that a thorough scene size-up is conducted, incident command is established, and risks are assessed and managed throughout a roadway incident. 6. Ensure that SOPs include guidance on how to properly establish advance warning and transition areas for highway emergency incidents. 7. Ensure that fire fighters wear suitable high-visibility retro-reflective apparel while working non-fire emergency scenes near moving traffic. 8. Ensure that high visibility chevrons and reflective markings are applied to all apparatus to enhance conspicuity while parked at emergency scenes and during emergency response. 9. Ensure that all persons involved in training and operations of emergency response meet applicable requisite knowledge and skills.
Region-9; Fire-fighters; Injury-prevention; Accident-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Emergency-responders; Safety-practices; Work-practices; Motor-vehicles; Training; Surveillance
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-F2012-07; M082013
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