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Volunteer fire fighter killed rescuing injured construction worker when struck by collapsing cell phone tower - West Virginia
  • Published Date:
    January 20, 2015
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF - 2.24 MB]


Details:
  • Corporate Authors:
    Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (U.S.) ; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. ;
  • Description:
    On February 1, 2014, a 28-year-old male volunteer fire fighter died after being struck by a collapsing cell phone tower. The fire fighter was rescuing an injured construction worker who had been hurt during the collapse of a separate cell phone tower located on the same site. He and three other fire fighters were dragging the injured maintenance worker out of the danger zone of the first collapsed tower when a second tower collapsed and struck him as he attempted to run away. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The initial tower collapse occurred during scheduled maintenance to reinforce the tower. Contributing Factors: 1. Sequential collapses of two cell phone towers. 2. Ineffective Incident Command. 3. Lack of situational awareness. 4. Lack of training for the specific incident response. 5. Lack of an Incident Safety Officer. Key Recommendations: 1. Fire departments should develop, implement and enforce an occupational safety and health program in accordance with NFPA 1500 Standard for a Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program. 2. Fire departments should ensure that the incident commander conducts an initial size-up and risk assessment of the incident scene before beginning operations, establishes a stationary command post, maintains the role of director of the incident scene and does not become involved in operations. 3. Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters are trained in situational awareness, personal safety, and accountability. 4. Fire departments should develop pre-incident plans for deployment to technical rescue incidents and conduct a risk benefit analysis for the deployment. 5. Fire departments should ensure that a separate Incident Safety Officer, independent from the Incident Commander, is appointed at technical rescue incidents. 6. Fire departments, especially volunteer departments, should consider limiting their special operations functions to those that they are properly trained and equipped for.

    NIOSHTIC No. 20045580

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