NIOSH report: Be vigilant about health, fitness, revisit NFPA 1582
By FireRescue1 Staff
WASHINGTON — Physicians knowledgeable about the demands of firefighting should perform periodic evlauations and pre-placement medical exams in accordance with NFPA 1582, a new NIOSH report states.
The report was issued in reponse to the December 2006 death of volunteer firefighter Thomas J. Hays of Ardmore, Pa. Twenty-five-year-old Hays, a member of the Lower Merion Fire Department and the Narberth Fire Company, died in bed after responding to a structure fire earlier in the evening. Autopsy findings indicated that his death was consistent with asphyxiation during a seizure. Hays had a long history of epilepsy.
NIOSH's report recommends stricter compliance with NFPA guidelines and the implementation of structred fitness programs to improve the overall health of firefighters. In addition, frequent medical evaluations may have encouraged firefighter Hays to take anti-seizure medication more consistently, possibly preventing his death.