2009 LODD; Medical, Response

From January to June 2009 the following line of duty deaths are categorized by medical cause, nature and response. When comparing this data with the earlier articles, readers will see an overlap in the listing of fatalities related to apparatus response. For the purpose of viewing both fireground specific fatalities and those of traumatic nature, these deaths are in each article. The purpose is not necessarily to recalculate the number of line of duty deaths specifically, but to look at them in a great detail, prior to recalculating.

Struck
1 – On Scene (nature: Trauma)
1 – In Station Duty (nature: Trauma)
Stress/Overexertion
1 – Enroute to work (nature: Heart Attack)
1 – In Station, In Station Duty (cause: Heart attack) (station coverage)
1 – In Station, In Station Duty (cause: Unknown) (station coverage)
1 – Response (nature: Heart Attack)
2 – On scene (nature: Heart Attack)
3 – On scene (fire attack) (nature: Unknown)
1 – In Station, after Incident (cause: Cerebrovascular Accident)
2 – In Station, after Incident (cause: Heart Attack)
2 – In Station, after Incident (cause: Unknown)
1 – Outside of Station, after Incident (cause: Cerebrovascular Accident)
2 – After Incident (cause: Heart Attack)
1 – Training (nature: Cerebrovascular Accident)
1 – Meeting (nature: Heart Attack)
1 – Employer-related event (nature: Unknown)
Collision
1 – POV Response (nature: Trauma) (no seatbelt use; speed) 18yoa
4 – Response (nature: Trauma) 61 (driver), 41 (driver), 34 (not driver), 52 (apparatus malfunction)
1 – Meeting (cause: Trauma) 45
Unknown
1 – In Station Duty (PT) (cause: Unknown)
1 – In Station (after incident) (cause: Unknown)
1 – On Scene (cause: Unknown)
1 – Medical complications from earlier on-duty injury (cause: Unknown)
1 – Department-assigned out-of-town training (cause: Unknown)
Fall
1 – In Station Duty (cause: Trauma)

The data proves that when looking at the line of duty deaths of the first half of the year, Stress/Overexertion are the greatest leading causes of death. Half of these are identified as having occurred following an incident. Likewise, when reviewing them against the December 2003 Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefits Act and recognizing that the information for each death is not fully presented, the majority would still be culturally considered as “line of duty” deaths. However there are some whose deaths raise a concern that the definition may be too loosely applied. These are easily debatable when considering what station duties should be considered as “line of duty” and “on duty” as well as whether or not department required or department sponsored activities constitute “line of duty”. What is most surprising to the author is the “Collision” data. Culturally privately-owned vehicle (POV) fatalities while responding are loosely attributed to younger volunteer firefighters. From January to June a total of five fatalities occurred related to “Collision” with only one having been an 18 year old volunteer. Unfortunately the information available reveals that a seatbelt was not in use. However, the other “Collision” fatalities all involved persons over the age of 30. In those cases, one was not the driver and another involved an apparatus malfunction. Another “Collision” fatality that occurred may not be culturally considered “line of duty” except that the member was traveling for a department-required meeting. In this case his collision was the result of striking a deer. If we compare this and other “Collision” data from previous years we may prove that the efforts to reduce response fatalities and increase seatbelt use may be working to lower line of duty deaths.

The last article in this series will review all of the line of duty deaths in this period in the culturally traditional definition of “line of duty” death.

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