Week 5: LODD – Electrocution at Structure Fire
Did the conclusions in this report offer recommendations for future prevention of similar incidents? What relation did established regulations and standards have to the events surrounding the fatality?
In this week’s forum the topic at hand describes the LODD of a career Captain who was electrocuted on February 13, 2005. This is yet another death that could have been avoided in my eyes. In the conclusion of the report multiple recommendations were giving to prevent further incidents. I think this report showed that the IC and ISO lack experience in that specific incident when dealing with electricity. I think that complacency took part in this death because after a couple close calls with the same electrical wire nobody deemed it necessary to do anything about it. When the Chief finally considered the need to fix the situation, it was a poor attempt on his part. Communications has also played a role in this incident as well. There was several missed communications during the incident. As the incident commander proper care should be taken when transmitting a message and receiving affirmation that the message was in fact received. Due to bad communication the call for the utility truck was delayed, PAR check was not conducted, and personnel left out of the loop on the surrounding hazard that waited them.
An important role of the ISO is to confirm that dangerous situations are avoided on scene by making sure the utilities are in fact cut off in the immediate danger zone. By not having the proper standards set in place when dealing with downed wires, it cost a firefighter his life and putting others at risk. One recommendation stated the need for an SOG. With an SOG in place everyone would be on the same page as far as keeping a certain amount of distance away from the wire. The SOG should have guidelines on how to proceed and encounter electrical hazards.
Another recommendation was stated about the firefighter’s awareness of hazards that are on scene. During the incident the IC decided to let the crew members know about the electrical hazard as he saw them. This message could have been taken more seriously by being transmitted via radio communication. There was no way for the officer to know if all crew members were aware of the hazard at hand. This unfortunate death could have very much been avoided. During emergencies it can get loud and hectic but we as emergency responders should know the importance of taking it slow and just being situational aware of the danger that we can encounter.
Lutz, V. (2006, MAY 24). Career Captain Electrocuted at the Scene of a Residential Structure Fire – California. Retrieved from NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Pervention Program : https://edge.apus.edu/access/content/group/security-and-global-studies-common/EDMG/FSMT405/NIOSH%20-%20F2005-7_California%20Electrocution%20LODD-1.pdf
NIOSH. (2014, May 20). Two Career Lieutenants Killed and Two Career Fire Fighters Injured Following a Flashover at an Assembly Hall Fire—Texas. Retrieved from NIOSH: https://edge.apus.edu/access/content/group/security-and-global-studies-common/EDMG/FSMT405/NIOSH%20-%20F2013-4_Flashover%20LODD.pdf
Did the conclusions in this report offer recommendations for future prevention of similar incidents?
This is a event that needs to be address but could have been easy avoided. Electrocution is a topic covered in most of our certifications and common sense when dealing electrical hazards. Also with fire and our most common mistake is getting tunnel vision with fire and not doing a complete 360 of the situation miss certain factors like the down power line that could of also help avoid the situation as well as the like of experience of the crew with dealing with this incident types.
The SOGs and SOPs need to be updated and with all fire and emergencies all hazards that can be turned off and removed to prevent further damages and injuries. As always make sure communication is good with all crews and warning each when they come across issues like fallen trees and powerlines. Because like stated above we get tunnel vision with fires and sometime forget to look at the whole picture. And as firefighter we risk more than we need to risk and need to remember risk management for life and not property but try to save what we can instead of losing our crews and fellow brothers over lost property that will be replaced and a firefighter we can’t replace him to our crew or his family. ICs and crew need to do more training and classes on how to prevent further incidents like this so they can understand the risk they take over the glory of being the hero and saving all and accepting the wrong risk.