The Ides of March

Here are five (5) NIOSH Firefighter LODD Event report summaries for incidents that occurred in the March 4th through the 8th time frame in the years 1998, 2001, 2002, 2008. Take the time to look over the event summaries, discuss and comment on the factors...


Here are five (5) NIOSH Firefighter LODD Event report summaries for incidents that occurred in the March 4th through the 8th time frame in the years 1998, 2001, 2002, 2008. Take the time to look over the event summaries, discuss and comment on the factors that lead to the events and the recommendations formulated from the subsequent investigations.

Take the opportunity to identify the common themes and apparent causes that were identified and discuss with your company, team or station, relevant considerations that may have a direct or indirect relationship to your organization, past incident calls or district risk profile.

What are your capabilities?

What are your gaps?

How can you prevent a similar situation from occurring?

Promote questions and dialog related to operational issues such as these;

  • Coordinated multi-company operations; how “coordinated” is your incident scene?
  • Do rapidly changing incident conditions get identified promptly and communicated to Command in rapid succession for actions?
  • How effective is the base line knowledge and skill set of company and command officers in “reading the building”?
  • What is the adequacy of your training for conducting operations above the fire floor?
  • When was the last time you “tested” the effectiveness of your RIT/FAST Team? Can they truly perform under the most demanding of incident conditions?
  • When was the last time you trained or drilled on Fire Behavior or on Building Construction?
  • Are you training on calling the mayday and personal survival techniques?
  • Have you implemented and trained on procedures for rapid and efficient transition in operational modes on the fireground?
  • Do you implement a 360 when applicable?

Down load the complete NIOSH Reports and expand on the lessons learners and their applicably to your organization and capabilities.

Floor Collapse and Fire Conditions: On March 7, 2002, a 28-year-old male volunteer fire fighter and a 41-year-old male career fire fighter died after becoming trapped in the basement. One firefighter manned the nozzle while second firefighter provided backup on the handline as they entered the house. After entering the structure, the floor collapsed, trapping both victims in the basement.

A career fire fighter captain joining the fire fighters near the time of the collapse was injured trying to rescue one of the fire fighters. Crew members responded immediately and attempted to rescue the victims; however, the heat and flames overcame both victims and eliminated any rescue efforts from the garage entrance.

NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should;

  • Ensure that the Incident Commander is clearly identified as the only individual responsible for the overall coordination and direction of all activities at an incident
  • Ensure that the Incident Commander conveys strategic decisions to all suppression crews on the fireground and continually reevaluates the fire condition
  • Ensure that Incident Command conducts an initial size-up of the incident before initiating fire fighting efforts and continually evaluates the risk versus gain during operations at an incident
  • Ensure that fire fighters from the ventilation crew and the attack crew coordinate their efforts
  • Ensure that fire fighters report conditions and hazards encountered to their team leader or Incident Commander
  • Ensure fire fighters are trained to recognize the danger of operating above a fire

NIOSH REPORT: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200206.html

Wall Collapse and Fire Conditions On March 7, 2008, two male career fire fighters, aged 40 and 19 were killed when they were trapped by rapidly deteriorating fire conditions inside a millwork facility in North Carolina. The captain of the hose line crew was also injured, receiving serious burn injuries.

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