Thread: "No Go Team"

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    Default "No Go Team"

    Interesting article.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16991877/

    Sounds like the CDC is involed in something they want no part of.

    The program does not have a 24-hour telephone line so that it can be notified of fatalities. "We do have a voice mail," said program manager Dawn Castillo. "If the call comes in on the weekends, we check it on Monday."
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    I think I am accronym challenged here. I thought CDC was the Centre for Disease Control? Which then brings up the question why would they care about FF deaths, unless there was a HAZMAT/BIO/CHEM situation where an unknown substance was involved.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Which then brings up the question why would they care about FF deaths
    Because no one wanted to take on the responsibility. If the U.S. can have a government agency (NTSB) to investigate aircraft crashes, then why can the fire service not have it's own government entity to perform fire fatality investigations?

    The CDC wants about as much to do with investigating firefighter fatalities as we want them investigating it, which is why they pass the buck off to NIOSH who in turn has no one with any knowledge of the fire service writing reports giving us recommendations on what we should do better next time.

    Let the NFPA handle it. Or create a new entity.
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    then why can the fire service not have it's own government entity to perform fire fatality investigations?
    Which I kinda thought fell into the perview of the Fire Marshalls office, along with the Coroner jointly..... all of which brings to mind that I never really gave it much consideration from a technical point of view - on the assumption (ya there we go LOL) that there was a delegated government agency that was assigned to deal with investigations.

    Although after having read the story and followed the previous links, I am still wondering why 1) CDC would care, and 2) why they would accept in the first place?

    Almost sounds like a military operation: "I gave you the order because you were conveniently handy at the time...."
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    I thought the NTSB existed due to the interstate and international nature of the transportation business.
    Fire departments are local and though we have NFPA and other standards to live up to,don't we all pretty much do the job "our"way which translates to"whatever works here is how we do it."?
    I do agree that there should be a national clearinghouse on how fatalities and injuries come about.I just don't want to see the congressional hearings about how to pay for it or who's in charge and especially how far the agency's authority will extend.I doubt any IC would want someone breaking in on the fire ground frequency to tell him what to do and later learn that the voice wasn't even in the same state.

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    You have some good comments there Doug, but I am thinking that the folks at CDC are there for post-incident investigations - I think. And ya, I'm with ya on the 'break in on radio to....' bits.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

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    The National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health is one of the Centers for Disease Control.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190 View Post
    The National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health is one of the Centers for Disease Control.
    Actually I did know that - but only by "accident" But I just didnt see the relavancy of the CDC itself doing the investigaitions; seems better suited to say NIOSH is conducting.... Oh wait.... this is government AND reporters in the same sentence. LOL
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190 View Post
    The National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health is one of the Centers for Disease Control.
    You forgot to say"Centers for Disease Control AND PREVENTION".(emphasis to show what's different not humiliating you)
    That's what the full name of the office is,isn't it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson View Post
    You forgot to say"Centers for Disease Control AND PREVENTION".(emphasis to show what's different not humiliating you)
    That's what the full name of the office is,isn't it?
    And that's the problem. Prevention can cover whatever you want it to cover.
    I am a highly trained professional and can find my :: expletive deleted:: with either hand in various light conditions.

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    Well they may have done a bad job but at least they don't go running around trying to put the IC in prison every time there is a fatality. OIG seems to think every wildland fire fatality is a criminal act, just look at what they did to the IC on 2002 Cramer fire in Idaho and what is currently going on with the IC of the 2001 30 mile fire in Washington. They have twisted the 10 & 18 into inviolate commandments instead of the reminders that they were intended to be. It would be like taking RECEO and determining that your actions were not based on these priorities (which like the 10/18 are very open to interpretation).

    Again untrained investigators making their own uneducated assumptions.

    I would be all for an agency or organization that included actual fire qualified accident investigators.

    I'm pretty sure the NTSB investigators are knowledgeable about transportation accidents, probably not to many ex grocery baggers on those teams, so why is it ok to have a criminal investigator or epidemiologist on a team to investigate firefighter fatalities?

    It should not be that hard to have a small national coordinating organization providing oversite and training and using investigators loaned from local departments to handle LODD's, thankfully they are fairly infrequent so it couldn't be to much of a drag on resources for individual departments to loan out personnel for a few weeks following a serious accident or fatality in their state.

    Probably makes too much sense and not enough money involved to get kick backs from to get any attention in Washington.

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    And therein you will get your problem.

    NTSB is staffed by specialists in their fields.

    You will get Govt appointed pukes and signtists what never seen no fire, and they will proceed to tell you how to be safe in the future.

    If you want to sort it out right, you had better do it once, do it right, and do it at a nationaly agreed level.

    At 100 per annum average a full time staff of investigators is needed to handle the cases.

    Just ask George what goes into a correctly run investigation.

    Localy sourced investigators is a REAL BAD idea.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    Just a thought why doesn't the IAFF investigate firefighter deaths. We pay them alot of money each month. I know they spend alot lobbying, but what is more important. I think a lot of retired firefighters would jump at the chance to continue helping thier fellow brothers. Only then would we know that the important information wouldn't be hidden by some politician.

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    Default NIOSH? NI not!

    I think the original idea was to have a nationwide 3rd party conduct independent investigations of fire fighter deaths. This would allow tracking of trends that may not be visible with out a nationwide perspective (ie: PASS failures) CDC got it cause NIOSH does occupational deaths. The problem seems to be lack of funds, inexperienced investigators with out substantial back ground in fire fighting led by a typical bearucrat who was more interested in getting reports off her desk than having them be through and accurate. I read the CDC hand book for fire fighter fatality investigations and it was definately written by somebody who hadn't done field investigations. It also appears that this Castillo broad was telling her investigators to do the exact opposite of what the hand book said to do. It also appears that she has no back ground in fire fighting or conducting investigations. She seems to want her investigations and report to be short, clean, and not ruffle any feathers.

    NonSurfin metioned criminal investigators. Personaly I think they should be an integral part of the team. Not to bring charges but because they should have substantial interviewing experience and be able to elicit the greatest amount of information from witnesses.

    What should have happened is that the team should have been lead by a person with substantial investigative and fire fighting experience. The investigators should include persons from a varried back ground with an emphasis on fire fighting, investigations and expertise in fire fighting equiptment, operation, and engineering. They also shouldn't be worried about where the blame may land. They should work to the truth and then lay it out. If mistakes were made they need to be brought out so we dont make them again. If equiptment failed that needs to be brought out so it can be fixed. If everbody did everything right and aprocedure was wrong we need to know that so we can change how we work. If it was just a freak thing that happend then so be it. It seems like Schmidt? the fire protection engineer was the only one trying to get to the bottom of things so we dont have the same failures or mistakes killing more firefighters.

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    CDC got it cause NIOSH does occupational deaths.
    Ok, thanks, and that makes some sense. Well... mostly anyhow. And I am in full agreement that it should be a national 3rd party. But again, it would be a government funded/staffed function, however hopefully with fully trained fire investigators - one would hope anyway.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

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    1) Nope, I was not aware they added "and Prevention" to the CDC's name...why do I always get caught when I don't do a thorough fact check? The name was changed, for the record, in October of 1992...

    2) No one organization is the "right" organization to conduct an investigation since they will all tend to have their own political biases.

    IAFF will determine it was a labor shortage and the city's inadequate funding.
    NFPA will decide it was a failure in engineering standards.
    FEMA will decide it was because FEMA knows all the local fire chief is a boob.
    NIOSH will be having spasms because they're used to primarily dealing with predictable industrial and construction processes that can be well planned and prepared for in advance.
    The City will be told by it's weenie attorney that come hell or highwater, it has to be their opinion the Firefighters screwed up.
    NVFC will be, well, as usual missing in action.

    Many LODDs do not need very extensive "fire service" investigation. When a 14 year old riding a bicycle gets hit, or a 75 year old drops dead right there of a cardiac arrest it's not a good use of resources to spend any more time on the matter than noting it in the database.

    A pretty big segment of the LODDs are (or should) already be getting a fairly technical and outside agency review -- most State Police agencies are pretty good at investigating commercial truck accidents and Fire Trucks ain't that much different. They either are already or should be producing reports that include accident reconstruction of the speed of the apparatus, mechanical failures, roadway failures, actions of other drivers, department training, department maintenance, etc. Same goes for Firefighters struck in traffic.

    Most cardiac and similiar sudden death aren't really candidates for individual investigations -- gather lots of details, autopsies, etc. I'm not worried about the 55+ deaths. The 18-45 sudden death and hospitalization / disability / etc from medical reasons is worth gathering extensive, long term data on to try and analyze patterns. Those can be approached epidimeologically (did I just butcher the spelling of that?)

    That leaves about 1/3rd of the LODDs that could reasonably use either a dedicated, persistent investigator who pieces together the parts from each specialist's areas...or a Board of Inquiry type deal with multiple groups represented.

    We have very few LODDs directly attributable to (fire service) engineering failures today -- thank you, NFPA & ISO even if they're a bit over the top sometimes. We can trust our pumps to pump, our ladders to not fold, our hose to not burst, our airpacks to provide air. We can gather epidemiological data on whether the bunker gear is too encapsulating or not. If some device fails though it is still a legitimate question of if the maintenance was inadequate (most likely) or is the engineering standard itself inadequate.

    There is a number of failures that can be traced back to failures in basic strategy & tactics. Those can lack of experience, or lack of training, or lack of discipline, or a combination of those. Personally, those are the ones most interesting to me since we can work to eliminate that. Even if nothing can be done about experience in slow departments, there's no excuses on training and discipline. S&T failures is something fair, seasoned firefighters are in the best position to judge.

    And then there are times that deaths will happen. The choices made were reasonable, the Strategies & Tactics were reasonable. Some of these can be learning experiences that cause modifications to existing procedures and new Strategy & Tactics to be developed as we realize what used to be typical is no longer reasonable -- Hackensack and Bow-String Trusses springs to mind. And sometimes, there just isn't anything we can do from a FD operational perspective -- Boston and the Hotel Vendome is an example of that. Even mitigating controls like more aggressive building inspections and computer systems that flag buildings with known dangers won't be 100% effective in identifying buildings with unknown structural flaws. These fires are perhaps the most complex, trying to figure out if we need to develop new "standard practices" in response to changing conditions or previously unrecognized problems...or if it was truly just plain bad luck.

    Matt
    Last edited by Dalmatian190; 02-07-2007 at 10:38 AM.

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    All good points,
    but what about these PASS devices possible failing , We currently use Surviveair and these were specificly mentioned?????

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    Quote Originally Posted by NonSurfinCaFF View Post
    Again untrained investigators making their own uneducated assumptions.
    I would be all for an agency or organization that included actual fire qualified accident investigators.
    I'm pretty sure the NTSB investigators are knowledgeable about transportation accidents, probably not to many ex grocery baggers on those teams, so why is it ok to have a criminal investigator or epidemiologist on a team to investigate firefighter fatalities?
    Probably makes too much sense and not enough money involved to get kick backs from to get any attention in Washington.
    You're right there.When a towboat hit a bridge down in Florida and an Amtrak train went into the river and killed 47 people,NTSB sent maritime people that didn't know riverboats don't steer by a compass and thought that was wrong.
    An investigator NEEDS to know about the job or industry they are investigating so they do not put their own motives or assumptions into what they are being told.
    Having fire people investigating fire service incidents isn't making a good ol' boy network that can cover up for friends and in-laws.It's having people who know what is supposed to be done or what equipment can do what job on a fire scene figuring out what went wrong and how it could have been prevented.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFRENG1 View Post
    Just a thought why doesn't the IAFF investigate firefighter deaths. We pay them alot of money each month.
    do you really think the IAFF will want to non-members deaths? or even worse the deaths of their volunteer brothers?
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFRENG1 View Post
    Just a thought why doesn't the IAFF investigate firefighter deaths. We pay them alot of money each month. I know they spend alot lobbying, but what is more important. I think a lot of retired firefighters would jump at the chance to continue helping thier fellow brothers. Only then would we know that the important information wouldn't be hidden by some politician.
    Are you an IAFF member?

    It is not the job of the IAFF to investigate firefighter deaths. Their job is to lobby to make working conditions safer for us.

    A single engine Cessna can go down and the NTSB will send out an investigator to check it out an aircraft incident and make a determination, regardless if there was a death or not.

    According to the NTSB database, they have been out 59 times so far this year...

    To quote Dal 190's post in this thread...

    IAFF will determine it was a labor shortage and the city's inadequate funding.
    NFPA will decide it was a failure in engineering standards.
    FEMA will decide it was because FEMA knows all the local fire chief is a boob.
    NIOSH will be having spasms because they're used to primarily dealing with predictable industrial and construction processes that can be well planned and prepared for in advance.
    The City will be told by it's weenie attorney that come hell or highwater, it has to be their opinion the Firefighters screwed up.
    NVFC will be, well, as usual missing in action.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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