Health & Safety

Mayday Monday: A Closer Look at Firefighter Deaths

Mayday Monday on firefighter fitness

By Tony Carroll

Welcome back for another edition of Mayday Monday. As you know, Mayday Mondays are dedicated to helping firefighters survive the fireground. We provide tips and techniques to avoid a Mayday situation and skills to assist with rescuing trapped firefighters. Last month, the post mentioned a fire service professional, Bill Carey, who has researched the data and relayed the real causes of firefighter line-of-duty deaths (LODDs). In 2016, two firefighters were killed while advancing hoselines in a burning building. According to the United States Fire Administration, 40 of the 89 firefighters who “died while on duty” in 2016 died of a heart attack. Hopefully, while we continue to train on firefighter survival and rescue, engine and truck operations, advancing hoselines and other tactics and techniques, we will see an emphasis on the wellness and fitness of our members.

In May of 2015, our department experienced the tragic loss of Lt. K. McRae. He was one of 54 firefighters who did as the result of a heart attack in 2015. Here is the link to the NIOSH report for Kevin: NIOSH Report # F2015-09. Recently, the fire service has seen several groups step up to provide resources for this issue. Here are a few links you should check out.

Firefighter Functional Fitness

Fit To Fight Fire


Fire Rescue Fitness

IAFF/IAFC Wellness Fitness

Thank you to each organization for their commitment to the health and wellness of each of us. Last month, the DCFEMSD took the first step-in-the-right-direction by bringing the O2X group to D.C. They presented their program to several members of the department. Hopefully, this will lead to all members of the department investing in their fire fitness. Please spend the Mondays in February developing your wellness/fitness plan so you may enjoy your retirement plan. Remember to please send us pictures of you and your crews performing any of the Mayday Monday tactics, tips, and/or techniques to [email protected]. See you next month.

Tony Carroll is a battalion chief with the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department.

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