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Fire fighter trainee suffers sudden cardiac death during physical ability training - Texas.

Baldwin T; 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 F2013-15, 2013 Dec; :1-14
On March 6, 2013, a 63-year-old male volunteer fire fighter trainee ("Trainee") participated in physical ability training as part of the Fire Department's (FD) 13-week cadet program. The Trainee, wearing full turnout gear and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) (not on-air) completed all of the 15 training components over a 15-minute period. At no point during the training did the Trainee express any unusual signs or symptoms. Then, while doffing his turnout gear, he collapsed. Instructors began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, requested an ambulance (1956 hours), and retrieved an automated external defibrillator. One shock (defibrillation) was administered prior to ambulance arrival at 2001 hours. Ambulance paramedics provided advanced life support on-scene and en route to the local hospital's emergency department (ED). The ambulance arrived at the ED at 2028 hours, and after 13 minutes of resuscitation efforts inside the ED, the Trainee was pronounced dead at 2041 hours. The death certificate and autopsy report listed "hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease" as the cause of death. Given the Trainee's occult heart disease, NIOSH investigators concluded that the physical stress of physical ability training probably triggered a heart arrhythmia, which resulted in sudden cardiac death. NIOSH investigators offer the following recommendations to prevent future similar incidents and to address general safety and health issues. 1. Include medical monitoring in rehabilitation programs. 2. Provide annual medical evaluations to all fire fighters in accordance with NFPA 1582, Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments. 3. Phase in a mandatory comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters. 4. Provide fire fighters with medical clearance to wear a SCBA as part of the Fire Department's medical evaluation program.
Region-6; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Mortality-data; Cardiac-function; Cardiovascular-system; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Medical-examinations; Autopsies; Heart; Medical-monitoring; Preventive-medicine; Physical-capacity; Physical-stress; Job-analysis; Physical-fitness; Training
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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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