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The Question
by FR1 Community

8 reasons why LODDs are increasing

With the growing number of line of duty deaths this year, we asked FireRescue1 readers to share their thoughts on why this trend is rising; here are the most compelling responses

By FireRescue1 Staff

Last year saw the highest recorded number of on-duty firefighter deaths since 2008. Trauma was the leading type of fatal injury last year, claiming 32.1 percent of the deaths. Heart attacks continue to be a concern, causing 19 percent of the fatal injuries. And in the early months of this year, that unsettling trend is continuing. 

We asked readers on Facebook to share their reasons for the recent increase in line of duty deaths and gathered the most compelling responses. We now invite you to join in by adding your own reason in the comment section below.

"The lack of funding to properly man stations and older buildings are not up to code. There’s also not enough pre-planning on large structures." — Glenn C Gerber

"The increase in the average age of firefighters in the fire service. Younger people are not volunteering and it’s causing older members to exceed their capabilities — leading to overexertion and heart attacks. We need to get younger members to join or you will see some houses unable to continue to operate with current manpower. It's a nationwide epidemic plaguing everyone." — Todd Jessup

"Personal accountability — from training to taking care of yourself. Too many people wanting to be firefighters just to say they are one and not for all the right reasons." — Jamie Perry

"Poor physical condition, poor health, and diminished judgment due to stress. All firefighters, paid or volunteer, need to have yearly physicals." — Peggy Ann Roche

"Complacency. We all tend to get to comfortable at times and think it can't happen to us!" — Jason Schmeling

"Officers reading training stuff online and then pushing it on firefighters on the floor because it's the next best thing for the day. They never make it to the end where it says this does not work." — Scott Thompson

"All they need to do is enforce stress tests." — Michael Hamila

"It shouldn't be what is the reason. There's no point in asking for answers. It's time to start looking for better ways to prevent them." — Andrew McCombs 

 

We also polled our readers here and the results can be seen below.

About the author

"The Question" section brings together user-generated articles from our Facebook page based on questions we pose to our followers, as well as some of the best content we find on Quora, a question-and-answer website created, edited and organized by its community of users who are often experts in their field. The site aggregates questions and answers for a range of topics, including public safety. The questions and answers featured here on FR1 are posted directly from Quora, and the views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of FR1.



Comments
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FireRescue1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Mark St Clair Mark St Clair Monday, March 10, 2014 5:56:48 PM Although any LODD is too many and we need to be doing everything we can to prevent them, there's an inherent flaw in the premise for this and associated articles. The "spike" in LODDs for 2013 was a statistical anomaly. Historically, it's pretty rare for LODDs from a single incident to reach double digits. As such, you have to take that into account when making year-to-year comparisons. If you subtract the 19 wildland firefighter deaths from the Prescott incident, the remaining number of LODDs falls right in line with the number of LODDs for each of the past several years. Thus negating the premise that we are in the middle of some sort of LODD epidemic.
Friedrich VonDeitsch Friedrich VonDeitsch Tuesday, March 11, 2014 1:46:09 AM I feel the main cause for the injuries and deaths that are becoming markedly greater per capita are due to the false security generated by the use of the new technologies. Too many Firefighters I have witnessed from afar, spoke to face to face and learned from as my superiors at State Fire Marshal fire school classes feel they are so well protected that they are willing to take risks that would not have been the case forty years ago. This fact has, in my opinion, led to Firefighters being exposed to extreme danger scenarios with the intent of "walking away" when it is just not possible. The new methods of team operations that advance each individuals safe entry and exit is also a major "weak link". I believe too much trust in "everything going right", when every veteran Fireman knows that usually everything will go wrong, also has caused some time honored safe practices to be abandoned leading to the inevitable loss of life. The simple understanding of the difference between fire resistant and fire proof must be acknowledged or more will be injured and killed.
Robert F Callahan Robert F Callahan Tuesday, March 11, 2014 5:58:52 AM Several reasons. Reduced number of fires means limited experience for both firefighters and officers. Reduced training time on firefighting because of EMS, haz-mat, special operations and other non-firefighting training requirements. The new fire behavior and the fact that there are many that still want to operate as that behavior hasn't changed. I agree that the advances in gear have set up members for being trapped in hostile fire events as well.
Jeff Sherrie Davis Jeff Sherrie Davis Tuesday, March 11, 2014 8:59:03 AM Sometimes we can have all the training and take all safety measures and still ends in a bad day. I know from personal experience.
Jeffrey Flaker Jeffrey Flaker Tuesday, March 11, 2014 1:20:39 PM Modern furnishings are providing for hotter and longer burning fires in structures that are getting much older and have also been modified (probably a few times). Our gear no longer allows us to feel the heat as much and our SCBA lasts longer, which gives us the impression we can stay inside longer or head deeper into hostile environments. The average age of our firefighters also plays a role as well as younger firefighters who tend to be more cowboyish.
Mark Bulla Mark Bulla Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:27:36 PM We had a townhouse fire with a report of one trapped in the basement a few weeks ago that was well involved before we were even dispatched. The squad crew went in to search, and were eventually forced out due to the volume and heat of the fire. Although neither of them were hurt, I was surprised at the extent of the damage and discoloration of their gear - helmets and SCBA tanks were blackened, and even their Nomex hoods were discolored. The thing that struck me was that they really weren't having a problem with the heat. The main reason that they left is because there wasn't anyplace else that they could go that wasn't fully involved. If they hadn't left, I expect that something would have failed shortly, and then they would have been in real trouble. Back when I started volunteering, we had 3/4 length boots, and no Nomex hoods - and you could feel the heat through the gear. Now, we wrap up so much that we hardly feel anything. I'm sure that it would be easy to make a simple heat alarm that could be part of the equipment we wear - a fusable link or something. It seems like it would be especially important to know if the temperature impinging on the SCBA facepiece is higher than it can withstand. Thanks for bringing this up.
Albert Seybert Albert Seybert Tuesday, March 11, 2014 10:19:19 PM I love two fireman and I also call them son--with all all due respect where do you come up with 32.1 percent ----how many parents have cried and grieved over that. .1% percent I don't get it
Timothy Lett Timothy Lett Tuesday, March 11, 2014 10:26:19 PM When all is said and done, it is a multifaceted issue that needs a multifaceted response. The over arching theme for that response should be; "JUDGEMENT"! All eight of your highlighted comments fall into this area. Judgement not being used properly on how we staff a station. Judgement on the type of equipment we buy or don't. Judgement on what we train for or don't train for. The judgement of the individual to put themselves in that situation. Does the individual keep themselves fit; mentally, physically, and educationally?? Does the Department have a healthy attitude? Screening, Training, Planning...Follow through? Being the best is NOT being the best YOU can be...
Friedrich VonDeitsch Friedrich VonDeitsch Thursday, March 13, 2014 9:14:10 AM I refer to this fact as the "MURPHY" effect. That "law" is not just a clever joke... stuff will happen if it can, so we must factor in the variables that some might say are improbable and a waste of time to prepare for. I thank you for this observation.
Red Devil Training Red Devil Training Saturday, March 15, 2014 9:09:29 AM Inability to adapt to changing their changing environments--culture has kept us "locked" into certain ways of doing things. Those things are causing an increase in LODDs.
Gordon Rudolph Gordon Rudolph Saturday, March 15, 2014 9:56:11 AM Lack of funding. When one retires the bean counters do not replace them. Lack of training. Making the time should be manditory. Im just worried these departments that allow helmet cameras will be seeing a rise in deaths and injuries as well trying to get that "amazing fotage"
Timothy Carson Timothy Carson Saturday, March 15, 2014 10:10:11 AM Firefighters now are too encapsulated in their gear causing a false sense of security and not allowing them to actually feel and read the conditions of the fire until its too late.Think about it you go in too far and then find out conditions have worsened
Timothy Carson Timothy Carson Saturday, March 15, 2014 10:14:10 AM Do you remain calm or do you think that you will be stressed causing your heart to work even harder than it was.
Evan Meyers Evan Meyers Saturday, March 15, 2014 10:46:38 AM Also seems like everyone is trying to do more with less
Harry A Struppa Harry A Struppa Sunday, March 16, 2014 1:49:18 AM Another big Area that often gets overlooked is the vol. Responding in POV. Not just that the lack of EV OC training period. Also the lack of accountability and the fact that people need to be held responsible. We need to come together and reach out to one another and become the solution and not the problem all of us are accountable for not just ourselves but each other. We Trust one another with our lives but we don't take care of our own. As a community and as a whole we have to own up to each LODD and evaluate and come up with answers not questions or excuses. No one can save us except each other and we can't save others if we don't save ourselves
Harry A Struppa Harry A Struppa Sunday, March 16, 2014 2:04:56 AM One other thing that has made an impact wad the 19 in Prescott. Now I am not gonna say what I really want to say but the lack of accountability and the fact that there was enough data and other mitigating factors and also we should have the technology to where we can survive incidents like that in rigs that are specially designed for this kind of work but we can go on and on but look at the ages of those poor soles if you take out the 19 we are around the usual number of LODD. But with the bigger lack in accountability and the fact that there is aura of complacency going on. We have all this technology that we rely on we lose our instincts.

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