Firefighters' Deaths Lead to Call for New Standards

May 20, 2003
Florida's State Fire Marshal's Office is recommending several new procedures and policies following the completion of its administrative investigation into a training fire that resulted in the deaths of two Osceola County firefighters last summer.

Over the next few months, the fire marshal's office will meet with affected fire service organizations and individuals to discuss its recommendations, which will impact all of Florida's professional and volunteer firefighters.

"There are lessons to be learned from this tragedy," said Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who also serves as state fire marshal. "Part of the state fire marshal's mandate is to investigate firefighter fatalities and identify ways to improve safety for fire personnel to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again."

The two Osceola County Fire Rescue Division firefighters died from injuries sustained from a flashover during a multi-agency, live-fire training exercise held in Kissimmee, Fla. on July 30.

Among the findings of the administrative investigation, conducted by the Bureau of Fire Standards and Training, are:

  • Ventilation and the type and amount of fuel used in live-fire training exercises must be carefully considered.
  • More continuing education is needed regarding procedures for conducting live-fire training exercises. A new class for certified instructors is being proposed.
  • While there is state law regarding live-fire training in acquired structures, the latest version of that standard needs to be adopted and also added into the Florida Firefighter Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The Bureau of Fire Standards and Training operates the Florida State Fire College in Ocala and governs nearly 30 Certified Firefighter Training Centers located throughout the state. The bureau is responsible for ensuring the facilities, the curriculum, and the instructors comply with state statutes and administrative code and for administration of the Florida Firefighter Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The full administrative report can be found at under "Division of State Fire Marshal."

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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