Only a slight change in the USFA on-duty death data
In June of this year I wrote about the number of firefighter fatalities listed under the activity type Advancing Hoselines/Fire Attack.Â There were a total of nine fatalities in this category, but a breakdown of the data provided by the United States Fire Administration (USFA) revealed less than what is first seen.Â Three of those nine victims were stricken while actively fighting a structure fire and two of the three were inside the structure at the time of their death.
There are a total of 80 on-duty deaths at this time, 41 more than when we first looked at those in the specific activity type.Â Here are those since then that were advancing hoselines.
On 30 May a volunteer lieutenant collapsed while at the scene of a mutual aid structure fire .Â The 55-year old victim was resuscitated on the scene and later flown to a medical center.Â In the days following he was moved to a hospice center and taken off of life support. He died on 5 June.Â Local news reported that the victim had collapsed after he and other firefighters had finished extinguished the structure fire .
The second fatality related to Advancing Hoselines in this time period occurred on 8 August.Â While operating at the Sierra Fire near Echo Summit, California, the 21-year old victim was struck and killed by a falling tree .Â His death falls under the Wildland category of the fatality data.
As we see, neither of these victims were directly involved with operating a hoseline inside a burning structure at the time of their death.Â This does not lessen the severity of the loss but rather adds important context to the data and discussion of the activity type.Â When we first looked at these fatalities there were a total of 39 recorded.Â Now, as of this writing there are 80 and the number of those killed on the hoseline inside a burning building has not changed. But some of it has in another way.
The USFA has updated the data in this activity type that was used in the first writing. In June one fatality that was listed among the 2015 fatalities is no more.Â On 5 November 2015 a Pennsylvania volunteer firefighter suffered a heart attack while working at a grass fire with a threatened exposure.Â He died on 22 February as was initially listed as a 2015 on-duty death.Â Searching using the victimâ€™s name reveals that his activity type was changed to Unknown .
5 November 2014, Firefighter Edward Roddy (Volunteer)
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
Firefighters killed while advancing hoselines in 2015 currently stands at 10 listed by the USFA; three while actively fighting a fire and two while inside a burning structure. As of 14 December as total of 80 on-duty deaths have occurred.
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.
1. David Knapke, Williamsburg Township Emergency Services
2. â€œDavid Knapke: Williamsburg Township firefighter dies after being moved to hospiceâ€ WCPO staff,Â 7 June 2015
3. Michael â€œMikeâ€ Hallenbeck, U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management
4. Edward J. Roddy, Somerset Volunteer Fire Department
Photo courtesy of Lloyd Mitchell Photography, used with permission.Â An engine company advances a hoseline into the rear of the fire building during a second alarm at Avenue U and E.18 Street.Â See more of Lloyd’s work here.
Bill Carey is the online public safety news and blog manager with PennWell Public Safety, or more specifically FireRescue Magazine/FirefighterNation.com, JEMS.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 Georgeâ€™s County. He served as a volunteer sergeant and lieutenant at Hyattsville. Billâ€™s writing has been on Firehouse.com, Fire Engineering, FireRescue Magazine, FirefighterNation.com, the Jones and Bartlett 2010 edition of â€œFire Officer: Principles and Practiceâ€, The Secret List and Tinhelmet.com. His recent writing on firefighter behavioral health was nominated for a 2014 Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Series.