“Review the NIOSH – F2011-10: Volunteer Fire Fighter Dies and Three Fire Fighters are Injured during Wildland Fire -Texas report.
Did the conclusions in this report offer recommendations for future prevention of similar incidents? What relation did established regulations and standards have to the events surrounding the fatality?
On Saturday, April 9, 2011, a 49-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (the victim) suffered third-degree burns over 60% of his body during wildland fire-fighting operations. The victim remained in critical condition until his death on April 20, 2011.
In conclusion, one fire fighter was separated from his group. The recommendations suggested that his gear (PPE) was ineffective for wildland fire-fighting. The fire-fighter had on structural turnout gear that is approved for wildland fire-fighting, however this PPE is designed to perform differently than the PPE used by wildland fire fighters. They also recommended that Ineffective training on wildland fire-fighting and personnel accountability played a role in his death. One factor is there was no safety zone or escape route coordinated effectively with the crews. In the report they stated Ineffective situational awareness. I personally do not like when reports of any kind say there was a lack of situational awareness. This is just a catch all and is really over played by some agencies. They rely on using “situational awareness” too much on describing the victims, or person involved actions.
Now like I stated before, I am not a fire-fighter but I do know structural fires and wild fires are two different beasts. Just from watching documentaries on wild fires thing can go wrong real fast. I can see where someone can lose their sense of bearing and location. With fire and heavy smoke over a large area can make it very difficult to find safe shelter. This is just another incident that could have been avoided if he would have stayed with someone, and or had a safe way out. But we were not there and cannot armchair quarterback what happened to his man.
In this week’s forum the topic at hand describes the LODD On April 9th, 2011. A firefighter who was assigned to brush 51 succumb to his death due to 3rddegree burns on his head and torso. At the end of the report there were nine recommendations to prevent future injuries or death. The department at the time did not require any training on fighting wildland fires, which lead to the death of a firefighter along with injuries from other crew members.
When I read this report, I noticed a lot of missing information, for instance the call for a mayday or even the deployment of a shelter. I will briefly speak on some of the recommended practices given. One recommendation that was given was for the Incident Commander to conduct risk assessment of the incident. Upon arriving on scene no action plan was discussed. It was important due to nature of evacuation. These firefighters went in blind without a plan and suffered the consequences.
Another recommendation spoke about the need for training. You would think everyone would be trained in the situation they would encounter. The department failed by not having a curriculum of some type of training for new firefighters. The need for training is critical for wildland just as it is for structural firefighting. This portion resonate with me because wildland firefighting is very new to me and have become one of the missions on my installation. My department adheres to the same standards as far as conducting training in S130 & 190 before placing crew members into wildland situations.
The last recommendation I will speak on is number 4. Number spoke about lookouts, communication, escape routes, and safety zones (LCES). These topics can speak for themselves and are the minimum you should have when heading into hazardous situations. With constant communication maybe brush 51 could have been guided out or rescued before the unforeseen circumstances. Planning an escape route or having a safety zone is beneficial for crew members to evacuate the immediate area.
The crew members were doomed from the beginning of their fight. Understanding the need for having a trained crew comes from having common sense. These firefighters didn’t have the bear minimum PPE for the situation. I think more consideration should be taken by the upper chain of command in placing supervisors that have the proper training and experience.
Campbell., M. E. (2012, January 17). Volunteer Fire Fighter Dies and Three Fire Fighters are Injured during Wildland Fire -Texas. Retrieved from NIOSH: https://edge.apus.edu/access/content/group/security-and-global-studies-common/EDMG/FSMT405/NIOSH%20-%20F2011-10_Texas%20Wildfire%20LODD.pdf