NIOSH Releases Report in 2008 Ohio LODDs

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Several recommendations were made in the NIOSH report focusing on the 2008 line of duty deaths of two Colerain, Ohio firefighters.

On April 4, 2008 Captain Robin Broxterman and Firefighter Brian Shira were fatally injured when a section of floor collapsed and trapped them in the basement during a fire at a residential structure.

Key contributing factors identified in the investigation include that the initial 360 degree size-up was incomplete, likely disorientation of victims effecting key survival skills, radio communication problems, well-involved basement fire before the department's arrival and potential fire growth from natural gas utilities.

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

  • Ensure that standard operating procedures (SOPs) for a 360-degree size-up are followed

  • Ensure that fire fighters are sufficiently trained in survival skills

  • Develop SOPs and train on the specific hazards of fighting basement fires to include ingress/egress points, flashover, and structure collapse

  • Ensure that radio operability guidelines follow best practices recommended by the International Association of Fire Chiefs

  • Ensure that thermal imaging cameras (TICs) are used to help assess interior conditions and potential structural damage

  • Ensure that SOPs for offensive operations are followed, such as, cutting utilities to the fire structure

Although there is no evidence that the following recommendations would have prevented these deaths, they are being provided as a reminder of good safety practices.

  • Ensure that interior attack crews advance with a charged hoseline

  • Consider dispatch information regarding the call, such as fire location and if the building's occupants have exited the structure

Additionally, first responder radio manufacturers, research/design facilities and standard setting bodies should continue research and efforts to:

  • Improve radio system capabilities

  • Refine existing and develop new technology to track the movement of fire fighters inside structures