NIOSH report examines incident command, staffing at Pa. LODD
By FireRescue1 Staff
WASHINGTON, Pa. — NIOSH is urging departments to maintain safe staffing levels and to follow a strict two-in/two-out policy in a report on the death of a firefighter killed in a structure collapse last February.
Twenty-seven-year-old firefighter Jeremy LaBella, of the Washington City Fire Department was killed and a second firefighter was injured when an awning attached to a garage where they were working collapsed on them.
The small size of the firefighting crew that day made search, rescue and extrication more difficult and slower, NIOSH's report states. Limited manpower made a two-in/two-out procedure difficult to follow.
Incident command was also compromised when understaffing caused the IC to engage in fighting the fire. Incident commanders should constantly be evaluating risks, NIOSH continues, including establishing collapse zones for structures that are likely to become unstable. "A collapse is a possibility after fire involvement of more than 10 minutes," the report says.