Issue 4 and Volume 158.

BY CHRIS WHITBY One of the first basic principles taught to firefighters early in their career is the importance of teamwork and to never go into an immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) situation without a partner. Yet all too often we see this basic concept of crew integrity violated. And all too often it results in the tragic loss of one of our own. The Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (OSHA) Respiratory Protection standard 1910.134 requires the employer (the fire department) to ensure that any personnel entering a structure fire have a partner. In addition, it also requires the employer to ensure that the crew maintains visual and/or audio contact (radio communication does not meet this requirement).1 Let’s take a look at a couple of fatality cases investigated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in which the breakdown of crew integrity led to tragic…

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