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Incident Name: training
Date: 5/31/2002
Personnel: Robert Broussard
Age: 59
Agency/Organization:  Sycuan Fire Department, El Cajon, CA
Position: firefighter

Summary: Firefighter Broussard was participating in an annual recertification process to be re-certified to fight wildland fires. He was part way through the pack test when he collapsed. A medic unit on standby at the certification course was at his side within a minute and began treatment. Firefighter Broussard was airlifted to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death was listed as a heart attack. Robert was a member of the Sycuan Tribe, El Cajon CA. sycuantribe.com

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Sycuan Fire Department, El Cajon, CA

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • NIOSH Report: Fire Fighter Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death While Performing Work Capacity Test - California

    Recommendations 1–2 below address safety issues unique to this event. Recommendations 3–5 are preventive measures often recommended by fire servicegroups to reduce the risk of on-the-job heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest among fire fighters. These recommendations should be implemented by the Southern California Agency (SCA).

    1. Check WCT participants’ vital signs before testing.
    2. Modify the Health Screening Questionnaire (HSQ) in the Pacific Regional Handbook to include all cardiovascular risk factors identified by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC).
    3. Consider providing preplacement and periodic medical evaluations to ALL fire fighters consistent with NFPA 1582 or equivalent to determine their medical ability to perform duties without presenting a significant risk to the safety and health of themselves or others.
    4. Ensure that fire fighters are cleared for duty by a physician knowledgeable about the physical demands of fire fighting.
    5. Ensure that fire fighters participate in a mandatory wellness/fitness program designed for wildland fire fighters to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and improve cardiovascular capacity.

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