Remember the fallen with the
NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program
On October 17, 2013, a 28-year-old male volunteer probationary member lost his life after the pumper/tanker he was operating left the roadway and overturned.
The probationary member called 9-1-1 to report a structure fire in another house behind his residence. He donned his structural firefighting gear and waited for his department to arrive at the fire.
After making an initial fire attack with other fire fighters, he left the hoseline and went to his department’s engine to change the bottle of his self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). The pump operator stated she didn’t know where spare bottles were on that apparatus.
While still wearing his structural firefighting gear, he left the incident scene in his personal vehicle and responded to his department’s nearby substation.
He left the substation driving Engine 2, a 2,500-gallon pumper/tanker. While returning to the incident scene, Engine 2 left the roadway in a curve and overturned.
The probationary member received fatal injuries during the rollover and was pronounced dead on the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt.
- No department- or state-required driver training program
- Inexperienced driver
- Not wearing a seat belt
- Driving or entering a curve at a speed not negotiable for a large vehicle such as a pumper/tanker
- Exiting a curve on a narrow roadway with a minimal shoulder
- Vehicle overturned
- Incident management system not implemented at the fire scene
- Fire departments and authorities having jurisdiction should ensure that all drivers complete a comprehensive driver training program, such as NFPA 1451 Standard for a Fire and Emergency Services Vehicle Operations Training Program, and NFPA 1002 Standard for Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator Professional Qualifications before allowing a member to operate a fire department apparatus.
- Fire departments should ensure that department drivers/operators are trained in the unique characteristics of driving a tanker and maintaining control.
- Fire departments should ensure that seat belts are properly worn at all times by apparatus drivers and occupants.