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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program | Buildingsonfire.com

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program

Video Clip recorded live by Fire Department Network News TV (FDNNTV) at the 50th IAFF Fire Fighter Convention in San Diego, CA on August 23, 2010.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, also known as NIOSH, is a federal agency that is part of the Centers for Disease Control. NIOSH has a mission of generating new knowledge in the occupational safety and health field and to transfer that knowledge into practice for the advancement of workers, including firefighters and emergency responders.

In 1998, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) requested that Congress fund NIOSH to start a firefighter safety initiative called the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program. “We investigate fatalities to learn from the mistakes the others made and to try to prevent future fatalities and injuries from occurring in similar events,” stated Project Officer Tim Merinar with the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program. According to NIOSH, the Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Program has made over 1,000 recommendations arising from over 300 investigations since its inception in 1998.

Merinar claimed that some do not fully understand who NIOSH is and what their goals are, often being confused with OSHA. However, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is not an enforcement agency, they are a research and education agency. Merinar added, “We’re not looking to find fault or place blame on the fire departments or the individual firefighters in the incidents.”

As soon as possible after an incident, a NIOSH investigator will meet with the fire department. “Oftentimes, we have to explain who we are, why we’re there, what we’re trying to accomplish,” added Merinar. NIOSH investigates as many firefighter fatalities as possible involving structure fires, deaths from cardiovascular disease, as well as deaths during non-fireground incidents.

NIOSH offers many different publications to firefighters, including their newest one about risk management at structure fires. This literature is distributed to the fire service free of charge. Another publication offered to firefighters deals with floor joists and the risk of falling through fire-damaged floors. “They work very well for the construction industry, but when they’re exposed to fire they also fail very rapidly. Which leads to early building collapses,” explained Merinar. “Many firefighters have been injured and killed in these collapses.”

NIOSH FFFIPP

Trends such as this uncovered during their investigations and spread to the fire service, could help prevent future deaths. Another trend found several years ago by NIOSH involved PASS devices not sounding on firefighters who died. According to Merinar, NIOSH worked with the National Fire Protection Association to have the standard changed to make the PASS devices more reliable and more effective for firefighters. Currently, they are working with the NFPA on the thermal degradation characteristics of face piece lenses.

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program

For more information on the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program, incident reports or fire fighter publications, visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/.

Cold-Storage and Warehouse Building Fire

Topic Index:

Reports and Publications
  Safety Advisories
  Fatality Reports
  Pending Investigations
  Safety Quizzes
  Publications
Program Information
  Program Description
  What to Expect During a NIOSH Investigation
  Public Comment Docket
  Future Directions
  Inspector General’s Program Review
  IAFC’s Program Review
  Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Evaluation
  Strategic Plan – 2009
NIOSH Request for Comment on the Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program The NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP) is seeking stakeholder input to ensure that the FFFIPP program is meeting the needs and expectations of the fire service, and to identify ways in which the program can be improved to increase its impact on the safety and health of fire fighters across the United States. Additional information can be found in the FFFIPP Progress Report and Proposed Future Directions document.

Stakeholder Comment on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP)-2011
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is seeking stakeholder input on the progress and future directions of the Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP). Since its initiation in 1998, NIOSH has sought public input to help plan and direct the goals and objectives of the FFFIPP. NIOSH received public comments on the FFFIPP in 1998, March 2006, and November 2008. NIOSH is again seeking input on the progress and future directions of the FFFIPP to ensure that the program is meeting the needs and expectations of the U.S. fire service and to identify ways in which the program can improve its impact on the safety and health of fire fighters across the United States. NIOSH will compile and consider all comments received and use them in making decisions on how to proceed with the FFFIPP.

There are several resources that may be useful to individuals and groups who would like to comment on the FFFIPP:

  • The NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Progress (FFFIPP) Report and Proposed Future Directions – 2011. This document includes specific topics for stakeholder input.
  • The Strategic Plan for the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program that was finalized in 2009 after public input.
  • The FFFIPP web site that includes an overview of the FFFIPP, fatality investigation reports and other publications.

Related Dockets
NIOSH Docket number 063NIOSH Docket number 063-A
——————————————————————————–

Public Comment Period
Written comments on the document will be accepted through July 29, 2011 in accordance with the instructions below. All material submitted to NIOSH should reference Docket Number NIOSH-063-B. All electronic comments should be formatted as Microsoft Word documents and make reference to docket number NIOSH-063-B.

Comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. EDT on July 29, 2011

To submit comments, please use one of these options:

  • Send NIOSH comments using this online form
  • Send comments by email.
  • Fax comments to the NIOSH Docket Office: 513-533-8285
  • Send by Mail to:
    NIOSH Mailstop: C-34
    Robert A. Taft Lab.
    4676 Columbia Parkway
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45226
    All information received in response to this notice will be available for public examination and copying at the …
    NIOSH Docket Office
    4676 Columbia Parkway, Room 111
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45226.

A complete electronic docket containing all comments submitted will be available on the NIOSH docket home page, and comments will be available in writing by request. NIOSH includes all comments received without change in the docket, including any personal information provided.

Contact persons for technical information

  • Paul Moore
    Chief, Fatality Investigations Team
    NIOSH/CDC
    1095 Willowdale Road
    Mailstop H-1808
    Morgantown, WV 26505
    304/285-6016

Recent NIOSH Fire Fighter Safety Publications

Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Fire Fighters Operating Modified Excess/Surplus Vehicles
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-125
Fire fighters may be at risk for crash-related injuries while operating excess and other surplus vehicles that have been modified for fire service use. Fire departments with limited resources often craft fire apparatus out of excess/surplus military and other vehicles as an affordable alternative to purchasing new or used apparatus. NIOSH urges fire departments to take precautions and actions to minimize the hazards and risks to fire fighters when using modified excess/surplus vehicles.

Evaluation of Chemical and Particle Exposures During Vehicle Fire Suppression Training (2010)this document in PDF (56 pages, 4.85 MB)
Health Hazard Evaluation Report, HETA 2008-0241-3113
In September 2008 and July 2009, NIOSH researchers collected area and personal breathing zone air samples during a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) to evaluate firefighters’ exposures to airborne chemicals during vehicle fire suppression training. Several hazardous chemicals were found on the area samples, including respiratory toxicants and potential carcinogens. Of the chemicals measured in the personal breathing zones, levels of formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and isocyanates were near or above short term exposure limits or ceiling limits. In addition, the number of particles and mass of the particles in the air increased during knockdown and remained elevated throughout the fire overhaul. Based on this evaluation, the levels of gases and particles released during vehicle fires have the potential to cause acute health effects to firefighters who do not wear self-contained breathing apparatus.

NIOSH Alert: Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Fire Fighters using Risk Management Principles at Structure Fires
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2010-153
Fire fighters are often killed or injured when fighting fires in abandoned, vacant, and unoccupied structures. These structures pose additional and sometimes unique risks due to the potential for fire fighters to encounter unexpected and unsafe building conditions such as dilapidation, decay, damage from previous fires and vandals, and other factors such as uncertain occupancy status. Risk management principles must be applied at all structure fires to ensure the appropriate strategy and tactics are used based on the fireground conditions encountered.

Preventing Exposures to Bloodborne Pathogens among Paramedics
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2010-139
Patient care puts paramedics at risk of exposure to blood. These exposures carry the risk of infection from bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. A national survey of 2,664 paramedics contributed new information about their risk of exposure to blood and identified opportunities to control exposures and prevent infections.

Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Fire Fighters Working Above Fire-Damaged Floors
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009-114
Fire fighters are at risk of falling through fire-damaged floors.

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program: Leading Recommendations for Preventing Fire Fighter Fatalities, 1998–2005
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009-100
This document is a synthesis of the 1,286 individual recommendations from the 335 FFFIPP investigations conducted from 1998 to 2005.

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Evaluation
NIOSH report of findings from its national survey of U.S. fire departments.

Preventing Fire Fighter Fatalities Due to Heart Attacks and Other Sudden Cardiovascular Events
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2007-133
Fire fighters are at risk of dying on the job from preventable cardiovascular conditions.

FDA AND NIOSH Public Health Notification: Oxygen Regulator Fires Resulting from Incorrect Use of CGA 870 Seals External Web Site Policy
This document provides information on the danger of fires at the interface of oxygen regulators and cylinder valves because of incorrect use of CGA 870 seals, and identifies measures to prevent such fires.

NIOSH Alert: Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Fire Fighters due to Truss System Failures
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2005-132
Fire fighters may be injured and killed when fire-damaged roof and floor truss systems collapse, sometimes without warning.

NIOSH Workplace Solutions—Preventing Deaths and Injuries to Fire Fighters During Live-Fire Training in Acquired Structures
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2005-102
Fire fighters are subjected to many hazards when participating in live-fire training. Training facilities with approved burn buildings should be used for live-fire training whenever possible. However, when acquired structures are used for live-fire training, NIOSH strongly recommends that fire departments follow the national consensus guidelines in NFPA 1403, standard on live-fire training evolutions [NFPA 2002a] to reduce the risk of injury and death. These guidelines are summarized in the recommendations in this document.

Radio Communication

The past few decades have seen major advancements in the communication industry. These advancements have improved radio frequency spectrum efficiency, but also have added complexity to the expansion of existing systems and the design of new systems. The U.S. Fire Administration in conjunction with the International Association of Fire Fighters has released the report Voice Radio Communications Guide for the Fire Service External Web Site Policy this document in PDF 3.85 MB (77 pages) This report is designed to help fire service leaders and members understand new communication and radio system issues in order to remain informed players in the process.

Current Status, Knowledge Gaps, and Research Needs Pertaining to Firefighter Radio Communication Systems
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) commissioned this study to identify and address specific deficiencies in firefighter radio communications and to identify technologies that may address these deficiencies. Specifically to be addressed were current and emerging technologies that improve, or hold promise to improve, firefighter radio communications and provide firefighter location in structures.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, Building and Fire Research Laboratory publication “Testing of Portable Radios in a Fire Fighting EnvironmentExternal Web Site Policy this document in PDF 265 KB (24 pages)
focuses on the thermal environment that radios would be expected to withstand while being used in structural fire fighting operations. Current NFPA standards for radios are reviewed and recommendations for establishing performance standards are presented. The need for providing additional protection from the thermal environment is documented.

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