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 F2012-30, 2014 Mar; :1-21
On November 11, 2012, a 26-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (the Victim) was killed when the tanker he was driving crashed en-route to a grass fire. The Victim drove his personal vehicle to the fire department from his residence upon hearing his department dispatched to the scene of a grass fire. Upon arriving at the department, approximately seven minutes after other fire department members responded, he readied Tanker 64 to respond. He asked other members if they wanted to go with him but they declined saying enough resources were already en route. He boarded the tanker and left the station with lights and siren activated. The apparatus crashed approximately five miles from the department. The Victim was ejected and suffered fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Contributing Factors: 1. Seat belt - an unrestrained driver risks losing control of the vehicle and being ejected. 2. Speed - travelling too fast for required maneuvers such as turning, stopping, swerving. 3. Roadway intersection protocol - not coming to a stop and then proceeding with caution risks a collision. 4. Tanker weight and characteristics - high center of gravity and possible weight shifts affect turning maneuvers and stopping distance. 5. Unnecessary emergency response. Key Recommendations: 1. Fire departments should ensure that all persons responding in emergency apparatus are wearing, and restrained securely by, seat belts at all times the vehicle is in motion. 2. Fire departments should provide training to driver/operators, incorporating specifics on rollover prevention and maintaining vehicle control. 3. Fire departments should ensure that all fire service vehicles are operated safely, taking into consideration the type of emergency and route of travel to the scene. 4. Fire departments should develop emergency response deployment protocols to prevent resources from unnecessarily responding, unplanned or unknown, to an emergency scene. 5. Fire departments should ensure that a thorough scene size-up is conducted, incident command is established, and risks are assessed and managed throughout an emergency incident. 6. Fire departments should develop policies and procedures that assist with determining replacement cycles for existing fire apparatus. 7. Fire departments should develop policies and procedures, mission and vision statements, and training programs, which promote an institutional safety culture that ensures that all members are empowered to report unsafe practices or actions.