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Examination of Strenuous Activity Preceding Cardiac Death during Firefighting Duties

Department of Health and Human Physiological Sciences, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Safety 2019, 5(3), 50;
Received: 28 June 2019 / Revised: 2 August 2019 / Accepted: 7 August 2019 / Published: 9 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fire Safety 2019)
Sudden cardiac death accounts for approximately 45% of duty-related fatalities among United States firefighters. Strenuous physical exertion is recognized as a trigger of sudden cardiac events. This study describes the duration of strenuous physical exertion on-scene preceding a fatal cardiac event by situation encountered during firefighting duties. Data provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program for duty-related firefighter fatalities over a 9-year period were analyzed. Among the 235 fatalities investigated, 45% had a cause of death that was cardiac in origin. Time (mean ± SD) spent on-scene in strenuous work was 30 ± 26 min, 14 ± 15 min, and 47 ± 52 min for fire, non-fire emergency, and training situations, respectively. Across all emergency operations and training, 31% of fatalities occurred among firefighters who performed ≤10 min of strenuous work, whereas 13% of fatalities occurred among those who performed >60 min. Study findings indicate that there is considerable variability in the duration of strenuous work preceding fatal cardiac events during firefighting duties. Notably, a high percentage of fatal cardiac events occurred after a relatively brief period of strenuous work, suggesting that the performance of any strenuous work, even that of short duration, may be sufficient to provoke a cardiac event in a firefighter with underlying cardiac disease. View Full-Text
Keywords: firefighting; sudden cardiac event; strenuous work firefighting; sudden cardiac event; strenuous work
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MDPI and ACS Style

Haller, J.M.; Smith, D.L. Examination of Strenuous Activity Preceding Cardiac Death during Firefighting Duties. Safety 2019, 5, 50.

AMA Style

Haller JM, Smith DL. Examination of Strenuous Activity Preceding Cardiac Death during Firefighting Duties. Safety. 2019; 5(3):50.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Haller, Jeannie M., and Denise L. Smith 2019. "Examination of Strenuous Activity Preceding Cardiac Death during Firefighting Duties" Safety 5, no. 3: 50.

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