Colerain Township (OH) Fire and EMS Department Final Report Investigation Analysis of the Squirrels Nest Lane Firefighter Line of Duty Deaths
- The Colerain Township (OH) Fire and EMS Department under the leadership of Director and Chief G. Bruce Smith recently released its final report Investigation Analysis of the Squirrels nest Lane Firefighter Line of Duty Deaths related to the April 4, 2008 Double Line of Duty Death of a Captain and Firefighter. This investigative analysis and report, although specific to the events and conditions encountered during the conduct of operation at the residential occupancy at 5708 Squirrels nest Lane has pertinent and relevant insights, recommendations and factors that all Fire Service personnel, regardless of rank should read.
- Incident Overview, HERE
- NIOSH Report, HERE
- Investigative Report, HERE
Analytical Study on Patterns in U.S. Firefigher Fatalities Study, HERE
While the number of structural fires in the United States continues to decline, firefighter line of duty deaths (LODD) do not exhibit the same rate of proportion decline. A review of both NFPA and USFA Firefighter LODD annual reports, statistics and retrospective studies and analysis suggest a noted change in the adverse trends noted for a number of previous years, but we are lagging in achieving the goals established by the NFFF’s Everyone Goes Home Program and initiatives.
A recently published study and research conducted at the University of Georgia may provide insights and help explain why.
Researchers in the UGA College of Public Health found that cultural factors in the work environment that promote getting the job done as quickly as possible with whatever resources available lead to an increase in line-of-duty firefighter fatalities.
- Take a good look at the structures, occupancies and buildings in you first, second and third due areas, look around your community and jurisdiction as well as your mutual aid and greater alarm response box areas.
- Have you stopped for a minute today and taken a good look around? Whether you’re sitting in the front seat at the stop light of an intersection or as you’re peering out the side cab window coming back from an alarm or while running errands in your POV; have you taken a good look around? As the Springsteen song goes; “this is your town”.
- There’s a lot that can be gleaned from your surroundings on any given day. We sometimes take for granted the subtle changes that are happening all around us as we take care of business on our rounds, runs and calls. We tend to focus in on the immediacy of the events that are happening in front of us that demand our attention but fail to take a look around to pick up on information, data and insights that can help us on that next run or down the road in the future.
- Take a look at the construction that might be going up in your areas. I’m certain you’re paying close attention to what’s happening in your first-due, but what about that third-due area, that neighboring jurisdiction or the mutual-aid area that you occasionally run in to? When you’re on that next EMS run or an investigation of an odor or alarm bells service call, take a few extra minutes to walk through the occupancy. Conduct your own mini company level pre-plan.
- Look at the layout, features, access and construction features. If you have a chance, verify the structural support systems employed by the building for the floor and roof systems. If you have time, take the company on a quick site visit to that building that’s under construction or the renovations that are again underway in that commercial or business occupancy around the corner from quarters.
- These continuing challenging economic times places a great deal of influence on what’s being built, how it might be constructed, the manner in which a building may be operational one day, vacant the other and under renovation the next. Sometimes these transformations occur literally overnight.
- Take a good look around, this is your town…your district, your response area. Know your buildings, understand their performance profiles, and assess the predictability of performance. Remember; Building Knowledge = Firefighter Safety.