This month is dedicated to D.C. Fire & EMS Lieutenant Kevin McRae. Kevin died after fighting a high-rise fire in May of 2015. Lieutenant McRae was the poster child of the D.C. fire department. Born and raised in D.C., after completing high school he was appointed to the department and assigned to Engine 6 in the Shaw neighborhood. He was promoted to lieutenant and served in several units and the training school before settling in at his home, Engine 6. On May 6, 2015, Lt. McRae suffered a heart attack after battling an apartment fire. The NIOSH report on Lt. Kevin McRae’s death can be found here.
Heart attacks are a leading killer of firefighters. In 2020, the fire service saw 23 members die in the line of duty due to cardiac issues. Sudden cardiac events require CPR as soon as possible. But are you ready to do CPR on someone in fire gear? The key to survival is to start chest compressions quickly and to get the turnout gear off to gain access and to make the CPR more efficient. This must be practiced before it is needed. This month, we will!
D.C. Recruit Class 387 has produced a video outlining the procedure to perform firefighter CPR. Watch the video below.
Please review the video and practice this vital skill. Prehospital care has transitioned to a high-quality CPR for our civilian cardiac arrest patients. The results have been very good. We should provide our members who suffer a cardiac emergency with the same level of expertise. In order to do that, we must practice and be prepared for this horrible event. Make this Monday the day you practice.
In this month’s Mayday Monday podcast we will talk to members of the D.C. fire department and O2X. We remember Lieutenant McRae, review firefighter CPR, and learn about D.C. fire’s efforts to get fire fit!
Tony Carroll is a battalion chief with the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department.
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