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Fire fighter dies from aortic dissection during shift - Massachusetts.

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 F2013-24, 2014 Jul; :1-12
On July 8, 2013, a 37-year-old male career fire fighter ("FF") started his 10-hour work shift at Station 5. At 1230 hours, Engine 5 responded to a medical call where the FF assisted with loading the patient into the ambulance. At 1511 hours, Engine 5 was dispatched to another medical call. As the crew gathered, the FF failed to respond to the call. The crew searched the station and found the FF inside a locked bathroom. He was unresponsive, with no pulse or respirations. Dispatch was notified as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was begun, oxygen was administered via bag-valve-mask, and an automated external defibrillator (AED) delivered one shock. The ambulance arrived at 1521 hours and provided advanced life support. The FF was transported to the hospital's emergency department (ED) where he was pronounced dead at 1554 hours. The death certificate and autopsy report were completed by the state medical examiner's office and listed "aortic dissection due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease" as the cause of death. It is unclear whether the exertion during the previous medical call (1230 hours) triggered the aortic dissection. The following recommendations would not have prevented the FF's death. However, NIOSH investigators offer these recommendations to address general safety and health issues and to prevent future cases of sudden cardiac death. 1. Provide preplacement and annual medical evaluations to all fire fighters in accordance with NFPA 1582, Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments. 2. Phase in a mandatory comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters. 3. Perform an annual physical performance (physical ability) evaluation for all members. 4. Provide fire fighters with medical clearance to wear a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) as part of the fire department's medical evaluation program. 5. Conduct annual respirator fit testing.
Region-1; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Emergency-responders; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Medical-screening; Physical-fitness
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-F2013-24; M072014
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