Advancing Hoselines

 

Not what you think, or read at first glance

AdvancingHoselinesTopImage

 


billcareyauthorbar

 

At first glance of the United States Fire Administration (USFA) firefighter fatality data you may see that nine firefighters have died while advancing hoselines this year [1]. What comes immediately to your mind? Were they caught in a flashover? Did they become trapped due to not recognizing signs of changing fire behavior?

Halfway through the year a look at the current on-duty death data shows a generality that needs more specifics before it can be properly understood or shared. As of 8 June, there are 39 firefighter fatalities listed by the USFA. In the brief overall breakdown of the data, nine of those fatalities are listed where the activity of the victim involved advancing hoselines (including wildfire). While the state of that category covers the general actions of the deceased around the approximate time at which their cause of death occurred, the exact details show a different picture.

Currently only three firefighters* have died while participating in direct firefighting operations (advancing hoselines, search and rescue, and ventilation at a structure fire) as I have written about previously to understand what the victims were actually doing at the time of the cause of their death. This does not include those who collapsed outside a structure or died sometime after the incident. That is not meant to lessen the loss but to provide greater detail and understanding to the data presented. Below are the nine fatalities currently listed by activity type “Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack”

 

*11 February, Lieutenant Randy Parker (Career)

Macon, Georgia

Age: 46

Caught in a floor collapse at a residential structure fire

Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack

Nature of Death: Burns

 

19 February, Captain Dwight W. Bazille (Career)

Houston, Texas

Age: 57

Fell ill while fighting a residential structure fire. Walked out under his own power, collapsed outside and went into cardiac arrest. The victim died two days later.

Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack

Nature of Death: Heart Attack

 

5 November 2014, Firefighter Edward Roddy (Volunteer)

Somerset, Pennsylvania

Age: 48

The victim suffered a heart attack while at the scene of a grass fire threatening a residential structure. He died on 22 February 2015

Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack

Nature of Death: Heart Attack

 

*9 March 2015, Firefighter Jeffery Scott Buck (Volunteer)

Clearfield, Pennsylvania

Age: 18

Caught in a porch collapse at a residential structure fire

Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack

Nature of Death: Crushed

 

*12 April 2015, Firefighter Steven Ackerman (Volunteer)

Valley Springs, South Dakota

Age: 38

Died of injuries sustained (cause and nature unknown) at a residential structure fire. Victim is believed to have been in a floor collapse or fell through a hole in the floor.

Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack

Nature of Death: Unknown

 

24 April 2015, Lieutenant Ricky Thurman (Career)

Swainsboro, Georgia

Age: 54

The victim suffered cardiac arrest while operating at a residential structure fire. He died 10 days later.

Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack

Nature of Death: Heart Attack

 

3 May 2015, Firefighter Christopher Michael Blankenship (Volunteer)

Jackson, Tennessee

Age: 41

Struck by falling tree while at the scene of a motor vehicle accident with fire

Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack

Nature of Death: Struck

 

4 May 2015, Firefighter Timothy Gunther (Career)

Poughkeepsie, New York

Age: 54

The victim experienced cardiac emergency symptoms while operating at a residential structure fire. He died the next day.

Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lies/Fire Attack

Nature of Death: Heart Attack

 

6 May, Lieutenant Kevin McRae (Career)

Washington, D.C.

Age: 44

Suffered a heart attack after exiting a residential structure fire

Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack

Nature of Death: Heart Attack

 

The breakdown of this data is as follows:

 

Average Age: 44

Oldest: 57 Youngest: 18

Career: 5 Volunteer: 4

 

Nature of Death

Burns: 1

Crushed: 1

Heart Attack: 5

Struck: 1

Unknown: 1

 

Deaths Occurring Inside a Burning Structure: 2

Only one of the nine died as a result of burn injuries. Heart attack was the nature of death for the majority of the victims. The average age of the heart attack victims was 51.

 

Summary

Of the nine fatalities currently listed as Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack, under Activity Type, only three were killed while operating inside or in very close proximity to a structure fire. Each was caught in some type of structural collapse. One died from burns, another from crush injuries. The cause and nature of death of the third is not yet reported. The others died outside of the structure and in some cases much later after the incident. Heart attack was the leading nature of death for the remaining fatalities.

The purpose of this is not to lessen any of the fatalities or to show unfair preference to a certain group. Instead it serves to remind us that we need aware beyond face value what our on-duty death statistics and yearly fatality reports tell us. It helps the educational efforts directed at lowering the yearly number of these fatalities when we understand the specifics of the data and how the fallen have died. Through this understanding, and improved dialogue, we can possibly improve the efforts in place to reduce our fatalities.

 

References

1. United States Fire Administration “Summary Incident Report” 8 January 2015 to 1 June 2015

 

AdvancingHoselinesGraphic

 

Find us on Google+

“Captain Anonymous Doesn’t Ride Here” Read our comment policy

 

 

BioPicBill Carey is the online public safety news and blog manager with PennWell Public Safety, or more specifically FireRescue Magazine/FirefighterNation.com, JEMS.com, LawOfficer.com and FireEMSBlogs.com. Bill started in the fire service, as a third generation firefighter in 1986, on the eastern shore of Maryland and then continued after moving to Prince George’s County. He served as a volunteer sergeant and lieutenant at Hyattsville. Bill’s writing has been on Firehouse.com, Fire Engineering, FireRescue Magazine, FirefighterNation.com, the Jones and Bartlett 2010 edition of “Fire Officer: Principles and Practice”, The Secret List and Tinhelmet.com. His recent writing on firefighter behavioral health was been nominated for 2014 Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Series.

You are not authorized to see this part
Please, insert a valid App IDotherwise your plugin won't work.

1 Comment

  • Bryan Lynch says:

    The USFA would benefit from an overhaul in the way that they collect and disseminate data. The categories are generally broad and tend to tabulate LODD’s by type rather than task. If we collected data based on fireground task performed (interior fire attack, vertical ventilation, search and rescue, VES, etc.) it paints a very different picture. Couple that with more detailed categories regarding circumstance (building collapse, flashover, rapid fire events, heart attack, etc.) and we get an accurate portrayal of not only how we are dying as firefighters but what we are doing when the LODD’s occur. I’m appreciative of the USFA for what they do for firefighters. I recently completed a research project on firefighter fatalities and building collapse and wouldn’t have been able to do so without their assistance. They could, however, use some restructuring in the way they collect and distribute data.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Plugin from the creators ofBrindes Personalizados :: More at PlulzWordpress Plugins