NIOSH has issued a number of recommendations following their investigations of three incidents.
Two occurred on the fire ground, while another happened at a fire station.
On Oct. 29, 2008, Adam C. Renfroe was killed in a structure fire in Alabama.
NIOSH investigators determined that Alabama has no required training standards for volunteer firefighters. While the state offers a 160-hour course, it is not mandatory.
Neither the victim nor the other two firefighters from Crossville Fire Department on the scene that day had taken the training.
Key contributing factors identified in this investigation include: fire fighters entering a structure fire without adequate training, insufficient manpower, and lack of an established incident command system
Renfroe entered the house by himself through a carport door with a partially charged 1-inch in hose line. He became lost in thick black smoke. The victim radioed for help, but they were unable to find him because of the intense fire, according to the report.
Investigators believe he was caught in a flashover.
NIOSH officials made the following recommendations:
- ensure that fire fighters receive essential training consistent with national consensus standards on structural fire fighting before being allowed to operate at a fire incident
- develop, implement, and enforce written standard operating procedures (SOPs) for fireground operations
- ensure that fire fighters are trained to follow the two-in/two-out rule and maintain crew integrity at all times
- ensure that adequate numbers of apparatus and fire fighters are on scene before initiating an offensive fire attack in a structure fire
- ensure that officers and fire fighters know how to evaluate risk versus gain and perform a thorough scene size-up before initiating interior strategies and tactics
- develop, implement, and enforce a written incident management system to be followed at all emergency incident operations and ensure that officers and fire fighters are trained on how to implement the incident management system
- ensure fire fighters are trained in essential self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and emergency survival skills
Ladder placement and bad judgment were among key factors cited in a fatal fall in New York City in June 2007.
Daniel Pujdak, 23, had just climbed the truck ladder to the roof bulkhead and was attempting to lower himself to the main roof when he fell. The roof saw slung on the victim's back shifted causing him to lose his balance and fall to the ground, reports indicated.
- stress to fire fighters the importance of exercising caution when working at elevation
- consider the location and placement of aerial ladders to prevent fire fighters from climbing from different elevations during fireground operations
- consider the use of portable scissor ladders to facilitate access from an aerial ladder to the roof
- ensure that fire fighters communicate any potential hazards to one another and ensure that team continuity is maintained during roof operations
- evaluate the manner in which equipment is harnessed or carried by fire fighters to prevent loss of balance