Occupational Injury Report

Maine Firefighter Seriously Injured in House Fire

January 13, 2009

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Incident

At a fire incident in Mexico during 2008, an Oxford County firefighter was injured and hospitalized. The firefighter entered the building from a porch roof and the building roof collapsed on him. Several firefighters found the firefighter due to his Personal Alarm Safety System (PASS) device. He was completely covered by debris.

It was determined from witness interviews, that the firefighter did not follow the Incident Commander’s orders and operated independently by entering the structure.

As required by statue, the Maine Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Standards, conducted an investigation into the injury.

Safety and Health Regulations and Standards

  • 29 CFR 1910.134: Respiratory Protection
  • 29 CFR 1910.134(c): Respiratory Protection Program
  • 29 CFR 1910.134(e): Medical Evaluation. Each firefighter expected to wear a respirator (SCBA) shall have a medical evaluation to determine the employee’s ability to wear the respirator.
  • 29 CFR 1910.134(f) Fit Testing. All employees expected to wear a respirator shall be fit tested annually to determine proper seal and fit. This shall be done after the medical evaluation is completed and a clearance is given by Physician or Professional Licensed Health Care Professional.
  • 29 CFR 1910.134(k): Training. Training on the use and care of respirators shall be completed every 12 months.
  • 29 CFR 1910.134(g)(4): Requires, except in a known rescue, that firefighters work in pairs with two firefighters outside the structure prepared for rescue.
  • Title 26 Chapter. 6, 561—Accountability
  • Injury Data (National)

    Nearly 100 firefighters die each year and 80,000 are reported injured(1). Of those 80,000 injuries 6.2% were attributed to smoke or gas inhalation(2). (1) NIOSH (2) NFPA

    Prevention Strategies

    Training is essential; although the Bureau of Labor Standards does not require a specific number of hours of training, we do require variety of subjects and training must be commensurate with the firefighters duties.

    The proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which includes self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and the Personal Alarm Safety System (PASS) shall be part of the firefighters training. This includes Medical evaluation, fit testing and the proper donning and doffing procedures.

    Each firefighter shall be trained in fire behavior. This will enable a firefighter to better determine if the building should be entered.

    The development of fire department Standard Operating Procedures. These procedures should include an accountability system and a clear chain of command.

    Orders from the Incident Commander shall be followed by all responding personnel. Anyone who does not follow the orders, put himself in jeopardy as well as entire response unit or units.

    Information on training requirements, safety and health standards and rules can be found on our webpage at:

    www.safetyworksmaine.com

    The Maine Department of Labor provides equal opportunity in employment and programs. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.