Fireground Management, Leadership

Howard County (MD) Releases Report on 2018 Firefighter LODD

Photograph of hydraulic pump supplying Engine 51 (department photo)

Marriottsville, MD – The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) continues to support the family of Lieutenant Nathan Flynn who perished last July from injuries sustained while operating on a 7-alarm house fire in Clarksville, MD. 

FirefighterNation: Maryland Firefighter Dies Battling House Fire

Read the Report (43MB)

 

This was the first career line of duty death in HCDFRS history. Immediately following Lieutenant Flynn’s untimely death, HCDFRS established an Internal Safety Review Board (ISRB) comprised of uniform personnel from inside the department, personnel from neighboring fire departments and outside agencies. The ISRB was charged with investigating factors that contributed to Lieutenant Flynn’s death as well as looking beyond the immediate causes to discover all aspects that impacted the event.

“We continue to mourn the loss of Nate, and our priority is to support his family as well as our fire department family,” said Fire Chief Christine M. Uhlhorn. 

“Our fire department has implemented many changes since experiencing this tragedy last July, such as: continuing to increase the staffing levels on our front-line engines to meet the national recommendation of four, establishing a radio committee and self-contained breathing apparatus committee to review current functionality and procedures, and continuing our practical training programs such as live fire acquired structure training and fire-ground survival. I thank the ISRB for their hard work over the past eleven months on this thorough and concise report and I am committed to reviewing all their recommendations as well as the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommendations when released. I am open to making the necessary changes that will impact the safety of our firefighters and paramedics.”

Findings from the report include:

• Establishing a clear and consistent Philosophy of Command throughout the department;

• Creating a competency-based training program, in which all HCDFRS personnel complete hands-on training in realistic conditions with an emphasis on practical error prevention and error trapping;

• Enhancing fire-ground communication, with an emphasis on establishing closed-loop radio communication;

• Enhancing crew accountability on the fire-ground; and

• Cultivating the ability of HCDFRS officers to clearly establish incident strategy and the global ability of all department members to carry out effective tactics.

“We will never forget the heroism and sacrifice of Lt. Nathan Flynn. We will continue to honor his legacy by dedicating ourselves to the safety of our firefighters, all first responders, and our entire community,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. 

“We have made progress in meeting the staffing needs of our Department of Fire & Rescue Services to give them the full support they need and, frankly deserve. I know we can build upon this progress and use the Internal Safety Review Board (ISRB) report to help prevent future tragedy and promote safety for all. I want to thank everyone on the ISRB for their efforts and, as always, thank everyone in our Department of Fire & Rescue Services for their great service to our county.”

The full ISRB report can be found online here: https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Fire-and-Rescue/Internal-Safety-Review-BoardFinal-Report The document is available for download in full version or by individual section.

For more information, please contact the Office of Community Outreach and Media Affairs at 410-313-6039.