Date: 4/8/1999, about 1736 hours
Personnel: John E. Murphy
Agency/Organization: Russell Fire Department, Russell MA
Position: deputy fire chief
Summary: Deputy Fire Chief Murphy was engaged in fighting a wildland fire in mountainous terrain for 4 hours. He collapsed and was down for 10 to 15 minutes before being discovered unconscious and without pulse or respirations by another firefighter. The firefighter initiated CPR and transported him to a waiting ambulance in the bed of the fire chief’s pickup (due to terrain). CPR continued through transport in the BLS ambulance, ALS treatment, and treatment in the emergency room. Despite all efforts, Chief Murphy died in the emergency room. The cause of death was listed as coronary atherosclerosis.
Russell Fire Department, 250 General Knox Rd, Russell MA
- NIOSH Report: Deputy Chief Suffers Unwitnessed Sudden Cardiac Death While Fighting a Wildland Fire in Steep Terrain - Massachusetts (You should read it.)
- Provide fire fighters with medical evaluations to determine their medical ability to perform duties without presenting a significant risk to the safety and health of themselves or others.
- Initiate a wellness/fitness program for firefighters to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and improve cardiovascular capacity.
- Additionally, a recommendation for wildland fire prevention is included: Fire officials and railroads should voluntarily
(a) jointly review and/or establish protocols and procedures to prevent the occurrence of fires caused by railroad work activities, and
(b) prepare and/or implement a system for notification of fire officials of railroad work activities that pose a fire risk.
- Information and analysis included in the Firefighter Fatality Report for 1999
- USFA Memorial Database: John E. Murphy
Contributors to this article: Mellie
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