NIOSH Alert: Preventing Fire Fighter Fatalities Due to Heart Attacks and Other Sudden Cardiovascular Events [open pdf - 1MB]
"The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requests assistance in preventing on-duty cardiovascular deaths among U.S. fire fighters. To reduce these deaths, NIOSH recommends that fire departments and fire fighters follow established medical screening guidelines, adopt risk reduction measures during fire fighting operations, and develop and participate in comprehensive wellness/fitness programs. To bring the information and recommendations in this Alert to the attention of the fire service community, NIOSH requests help from the following individuals and organizations: fire commissioners, fire chiefs, State and local fire district administrators, State fire marshals, safety and health officials, health care providers (physicians, nurses, etc.), human resource specialists, unions, labor organizations, insurance companies and editors of trade journals and other publications. [...] In 1998, Congress funded the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program to conduct investigations of on-duty fire fighter fatalities and formulate recommendations for preventing future deaths and injuries. From 1998 to 2004, NIOSH investigated 131 (43%) of the 304 sudden cardiac death fatalities. The NIOSH investigations included a review of the deceased fire fighter's personal medical records. To share lessons from the NIOSH investigations, this document: (1) Provides background on fire fighting and heart disease; (2) Presents five case reports to highlight important findings; (3) Summarizes data from the NIOSH cardiovascular disease (CVD) fatality investigations; and (4) Provides recommendations to minimize the risk of injury and death to fire fighters from cardiovascular events."
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2007-133
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/