9. Fatality, Near-Miss Investigation

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Thoroughly investigate all firefighter fatalities, injuries, and near-misses.

How many firefighters are killed in the U.S. each year? Nearly 100. And in 2012, the National Fire Protection Association estimated that more than 69,000 firefighters were injured on the job. The NFPA believes that their estimate is accurate to +/- 6.5%. This is a projection, not an actual number – we’re really not sure how many firefighters were injured in 2012. We don’t truly know how many actual injuries there were, and we certainly have no idea how many near-miss (or near-hit) incidents occurred.

Initiative #9 asks us to learn from our mistakes—the only way to do this is to thoroughly investigate every near-miss, significant injury or fatality.

Latest Initiative 9 News

  • After the Fire Podcast – Episode 6 In this episode, we continue to discuss the 2019 McMicken Explosion and near-miss incident of Surprise, Arizona where multiple first responders were blasted over 75 feet as a result of an explosion of a lithium-ion battery energy storage facility.
  • After the Fire Podcast – Episode 5 In this episode, we discuss the 2019 McMicken Explosion and near-miss incident of Surprise, Arizona where multiple first responders were blasted over 75 feet as a result of an explosion of a lithium-ion battery energy storage facility.
  • Help Shape the Future of the Fire Service The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation will host the National Fire Service Research Agenda Symposium virtually in February and March to prioritize research that promotes firefighter safety, wellness, and efficiency.
  • After the Fire Podcast – Episode 4 In this episode, we’ll continue to discuss the 1984 toluene tank explosion that resulted in the LODD of Phoenix Fire Department Engineer-HazMat Technician Ricky Pearce. We honor his contribution to industry-wide change, and we explore how Phoenix and firefighting as a whole evolved from this unfortunate event.
  • After the Fire Podcast – Episode 3 In this episode, we discuss the 1984 toluene tank explosion that resulted in the LODD of Phoenix Fire Department Engineer-HazMat Technician Ricky Pearce. We honor his contribution to industry-wide change, and we explore how Phoenix and firefighting as a whole evolved from this unfortunate event.
  • Help Make Responders Safer on Our Nation’s Roadways The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is conducting a survey to gather data on responder fatalities, injuries, near misses, and struck-by incidents that have occurred during emergency response on our nation’s highways. The survey will be open until December 15, 2020.
    » Take the Survey Now
  • Making the Nathan Espinosa Story Early in 2018, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation became aware of a significant near miss event in Los Angeles, California. A rookie firefighter fell through the roof during operations at his first working fire. Within days, the Los Angeles fire chief took bold action to ensure the firefighter was cared for, activated a critical injury investigation, and develop a plan of action to prevent a future occurrence.
  • Promoting a Better Safety Climate for the Fire Service During Global Pandemic, Civil Unrest, and Wildland Fires The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the First Responder Center for Excellence (FRCE), once again, collaborated with Firehouse® and published the 2020 Fire Service Health & Safety Report. The 32 page report, which appears in September’s issue of Firehouse®, includes 13 articles written by respected leaders, authors and experts, covering a diversity of topics, including women in the fire service, the power of podcasts in promoting safety and health and changing the very culture of safety among the nation’s fire departments.
  • Go Down Swinging – The Nathan Espinosa Story On September 19, 2018, the Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to a fire in a commercial structure. Within minutes of arrival, the department experienced a significant near miss event involving serious injury to one of its newest members. Rather than take the incident in stride as “part of the job,” LAFD Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas reviewed the incident and within ten days ordered a top to bottom cultural shift in the department’s response to structural fires. The cultural shift preserved the LAFD tradition of aggressive fire attack, while injecting new practices designed to improve firefighter safety and avoid a repeat event that could lead to an irreversible tragedy. This article tells the tale of how one fire chief and a major metropolitan department recognized a threat and responded by taking bold corrective action before the threat became a tragedy. The story is a model of courageous leadership.
  • UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute Unveils New Report Investigating Near-Miss Lithium-Ion Battery Energy Storage System Explosion UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) today released a report detailing a deflagration incident at a 2.16 MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system (ESS) facility in Surprise, Arizona. The report provides a detailed technical account of the explosion and fire service response, along with recommendations on how to improve codes, standards, and emergency response training to better protect first responders, maintenance personnel and nearby communities.