Remember the fallen with lessons learned
NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program
On July 16, 2012, a 30-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (victim) died after being ejected from a fire engine. The victim, riding in the right front seat, was responding on Engine 6-5 with one other fire fighter (the driver) to a reported motor vehicle crash.
The fire engine traveled approximately 1.3 miles from the station when the driver lost control of the engine in a curve. The engine left the paved road and crashed into trees on the right side of the roadway.
The victim was ejected from the engine and landed in a wooded area (see Photo 1 and Photo 2). The driver of Engine 6-5 exited through the windshield, located the victim, and began medical treatment.
Other emergency personnel responded to the scene, and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
- Narrow roadway with minimal shoulder in a curve
- Loss of control of the vehicle (right wheels left the paved surface)
- Non-use of seat belt
- Inadequate SOPs for seat belt usage
- Inadequate driver training
- Fire departments should ensure that fire department drivers/operators are trained in techniques for maintaining control of their vehicles at all times.
- Fire departments should ensure that written standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding seat belt use are established and enforced.
- Fire departments should provide and ensure all drivers successfully complete a comprehensive driver’s training program, such as NFPA 1451 Standard for a Fire Service Vehicle Operations Training Program, before allowing a member to drive and operate a fire department vehicle.
- Fire departments should ensure that apparatus are regularly inspected and checked, recording water levels of engines, tankers, and other vehicles with water tanks.
- Fire departments should develop and implement fire apparatus inspection and check-off sheets and provide a systematic approach for the communicating, receiving, filing, and storage of these as well as maintenance records.