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Volunteer fire captain suffers sudden cardiac death while responding to a call - 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 F2013-21, 2014 Mar; :1-13
On March 8, 2013, a 60-year-old volunteer Fire Captain failed to respond to the scene of an emergency call at 1054 hours. Several hours later (1530 hours) he was found laying in his driveway wearing a jacket with his fire department logo; his personal vehicle was running and the windshield was partially cleared of snow. Emergency medical service (EMS) personnel reported that the Captain was unresponsive with significant rigor mortis and no signs of life. Based on the local EMS protocols, the Captain was pronounced dead at the scene. Neighbors witnessed the Captain walking in his front yard less than a half hour before the call (1030 hours). Therefore, the Captain was assumed to be responding to the emergency call when he suffered a sudden cardiac event. The autopsy report, completed by the County's Medical Examiner's office, listed the cause of death as "atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease." The autopsy revealed severe coronary atherosclerosis with a remote (old) myocardial infarction, cardiomegaly, and left ventricular hypertrophy. 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 fire fighters receive an annual medical evaluation consistent with NFPA 1582, Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments. 2. Perform symptom-limiting exercise stress tests on fire fighters at increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and sudden cardiac events. 3. Discontinue routine screening chest x-rays for members, unless clinically indicated. 4. Develop a mandatory comprehensive wellness and fitness program. 5. Perform a preplacement and an annual physical performance (physical ability) evaluation for all members.
Region-2; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Cardiac-function; Cardiovascular-system; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Medical-examinations; Heart; Preemployment-examinations; Medical-monitoring; Preventive-medicine; Physical-capacity; Physical-stress; Job-analysis; Physical-fitness
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-F2013-21; M032014
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