Combatting the NIOSH 5 Firefighter Killers With Software: Inadequate Risk Assessment

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Ronny Smith

Nov 9, 2021

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Firefighter fatalities are devastating – for families, communities, and fellow emergency responders. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has studied firefighter fatality root causes, and found five key situations:  

  • Lack of accountability
  • Lack of communication
  • Lack of standard operating procedures
  • Lack of incident management
  • Lack of appropriate risk assessment

Each situation can and should be addressed to save firefighter lives, and they’re interdependent – that is, one cause can impact the other. Looking at the end-to-end fire incident lifecycle, it can be helpful to start with proper, thorough, and forward-thinking risk assessment well before the incident occurs.

It’s simple, indisputable fact – all incidents have some level of risk. From a simple kitchen fire to a five-alarm office building blaze, every time a firefighter responds to a call, risk is always present. How do firefighters assess, quantify, and plan for this unavoidable risk?

At First Due, we’ve found that standardization is key. Our inspections and pre-planning modules ‘check every box,’ helping firefighters plan for every potential hazard they might encounter in the field, including:

  • Life safety – always our top priority. Our tools provide the clearest picture of structure use and occupancy, helping responders with what matters most – saving lives.
  • Incident stabilization – rig staging, water supply, terrain difficulty, access issues, contributing hazards and exposures. You’ll have a complete picture of what to expect when you arrive on the scene.
  • Property conservation – we’ll help you understand every aspect of a building’s layout, construction, building materials, age, and accessibility. We’ll also help you pool municipal information with other response organizations to efficiently mitigate an emergency.

Having this information is critical, but it’s more than just collecting it – it’s having it in an easy-to-access system that integrates with other aspects of fire response. Every minute counts, and when responding to an incident, emergency responders don’t have the time to click through tables and juggle programs to find what they need.  

First Due’s one-stop prevention dashboard delivers all of this and more, fast and at your fingertips. We know that saving and protecting lives is what matters most, and we’re proud to help you build a complete picture of the risks you might encounter in the field, enabling you to make truly informed and safe decisions with every call.