NIOSH

NIOSH Recommended

Alan Brunacini - joined the Phoenix Fire Department in 1958. He served in every department position. He was promoted to Fire Chief in 1978 and retired in 2006. He is a graduate of the Fire Protection Technology program at Oklahoma State University. He has a BS and an MPA from Arizona State University. He is the past Chairman of the Board of the National Fire Protection Association and the first Chairman and developer of the N.F.P.A. Fire Service Occupational Safety Committee (standard 1500). He was also the first Chairman of the N.F.P.A. Career Fire Service Career Organization and Deployment Committee (standard 1710). Alan Brunacini is the author of Fire Command, Command Safety, Timeless Tactical Truths, Essentials of Fire Department Customer Service and The Anatomy and Physiology of Leadership.

The entire Blue Card IC Training and Certification Program is based on Chief Brunacini's Textbook "Fire Command". The 1st edition of Fire Command was released in 1985. It was updated with the 2nd edition in 2001. Command Safety (released in 2003) was completely written around the IC's checklists located in the back of each Fire Command Function chapter. Fire Command is recognized as one of the definitive works on local incident command and IDLH management across the globe.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has referred to and has recommended following the policies and procedures found in the Fire Command and Command Safety text books. NIOSH has made references and recommendations based on Chief Alan Brunacini and Fire Command for over 70 Hazard Zone (IDLH) Firefighter LODD reports.

Below are 5 LODD incidents where there were references and recommended practices made based on the Fire Command system (the Blue Card Command Training and Certification program is 100% based on Fire Command and Command Safety). Because we have not found any new ways to kill and injure ourselves on the fireground, we review references from 5 of the most recent reports that have been published. The statements made in these 5 reports, are sadly repeated in over 70 other LODD reports. Links to all NIOSH LODD reports that reference Fire Command, Command Safety, or Alan Brunacini follow the 5 examples shown.

May 31,
2013
4 Career Fire Fighters Killed and 16 Fire Fighters Injured at Commercial Structure Fire – Texas
Recommendation #8: Fire Departments should ensure that the Incident Commander incorporates "Command Safety" into the incident management system.

Discussion: The purpose of "Command Safety" is to provide the Incident Commander with the necessary resources on how to use, follow, and incorporate safety into the incident management system at all incidents. "Command Safety" is used as part of the eight functions of command developed by (Retired) Fire Chief Alan V. Brunacini. "Command Safety" defines how the Incident Commander must use the regular, everyday command functions to complete the strategic level safety responsibilities during incident operations. Using the command functions creates an effective and close connection between the safety officer and the Incident Command. The eight functions of command are:

  • Assumption/confirmation/positioning
  • Situation evaluation which includes risk management
  • Communications
  • Deployment
  • Strategy/incident action planning
  • Organization
  • Review/revision
  • Transfer/continuation/termination

A major objective of the incident management system is to create, support, and integrate an Incident Commander who will direct the geographical and functional needs of the entire incident on the strategic, tactical, and task level. Issues develop for the Incident Commander when these three standard levels are not in place, operating, and are effectively connected. One of the most important components is to ensure the Incident Commander operates on the strategic level from the very beginning of the incident and stays on the strategic level as long as fire fighters are operating in an immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) environment.

The Incident Commander uses the incident management system as the basic foundation for managing the strategic level safety function. "Command Safety" ensures the highest level of safety for fire department members operating at emergency incidents. The Incident Commander completes the operational and safety responsibility to the fire fighters by performing the eight command functions. These functions serve as a very practical performance foundation for how the Incident Commander completes their responsibility as the strategic level incident manager and the overall incident safety manager.

At this incident, there were several "Command Safety" issues which are being addressed by the fire department as part of their recovery process. These issues included fireground communications, personnel accountability, use of a tactical worksheet (which compliments personnel accountability and crew integrity), and a continuous scene size-up and evaluation.

February 15,
2013
Two career lieutenants killed and two career fire fighters injured following a flashover at an assembly hall fire - Texas.
Recommendation #1: Fire departments should use risk management principles at all structure fires.

Discussion: While it is recognized that firefighting is an inherently hazardous occupation, risk management principles established by the fire service are based on the philosophy that greater risks will be assumed when there are lives to be saved and the level of acceptable risk to fire fighters is much lower when only property is at stake. Interior offensive firefighting or fast-attack operations can increase the risk of traumatic injury and death to fire fighters from structural collapse, a flashover, and potential asphyxiation. When it is confirmed that there are no lives to save, the IC must then decide what risks they are willing to expose their personnel to based on risk-versus-gain. Established risk management principles suggest that more caution should be exercised in abandoned, vacant, and unoccupied structures and in situations where there is no clear evidence indicating that people are trapped inside a structure and can be saved.2 In this incident, no vehicles were observed within the parking lot for the structure, the time was late evening, and all doors were secured. From this information, a determination may have been made that the structure was unoccupied.

The IC, with input from the assigned ISO and/or division/group supervisors, is responsible for evaluating conditions at a structure fire and determining safe tactics for fighting the fire. To accomplish this, the IC should use a standardized strategic decision-making model. First, the IC should size up the critical fireground factors.3 Before ordering an offensive attack, the IC must make a determination that offensive (interior) operations may be conducted without exceeding a reasonable degree of risk to fire fighters and must be prepared to discontinue the offensive attack if the risk evaluation changes during the firefighting operation. A full range of factors must be considered in making the risk evaluation, including but not limited to the following:

  • Presence of occupants in the building
  • A realistic evaluation of occupant survivability and rescue potential
  • Size, construction, and use of the building
  • Age and condition of the building
  • Nature and value of building contents
  • Location and extent of the fire within the building
  • Adjacent exposures (structures)
  • Fire involvement or compromise of the building's structural components
  • Residential or commercial structure
  • Delayed discovery/reporting and its effect on burn time and structural stability
  • Considerations of fire loading and fire behavior
  • A realistic evaluation of the ability to execute a successful offensive fire attack with the resources that are available
Recommendation #4: Fire departments should ensure that a complete situational size-up is conducted on all structure fires.

Discussion: Among the most important duties of the first officer on the scene is conducting an initial 360-degree situational size-up of the incident and transmitting this information to units on the fireground or responding to the incident. NFPA 1561, 8.9.1.1 states the incident commander shall conduct an initial and ongoing situational assessment of the incident.14 In order to accomplish this, the first officer on scene needs to have the requisite knowledge of the elements of a proper size-up.15 A proper size-up begins from the moment the alarm is received, and it continues until the fire is brought under control either offensively or defensively. The size-up should include an evaluation of factors such as the following:

  • Location and volume of the fire
  • Required fire flow
  • Building construction
  • Commercial versus residential structure Water supply
  • Initial arriving engine laying in from a hydrant versus waiting for another engine to supply them upon their arrival.
  • of time the fire has been burning, recognizing burn time may have affected structural stability
  • Conditions on arrival
  • Occupancy
  • Fuel load
  • Presence of combustible or hazardous materials
  • Exposures
  • Roof and wall loads
  • Time of day
  • Available staffing on scene or en route
  • Weather conditions
  • A realistic evaluation of the ability to conduct an offensive attack with available resources.
April 9,
2012
Career lieutenant and fire fighter killed and two fire fighters injured by wall collapse at a large commercial structure fire - Pennsylvania.
Recommendation #5: Ensure critical benchmarks are communicated to the Incident Commander.

Retired Fire Chief Alan Brunacini states that critical fire ground factors, including interior and exterior conditions, are among the many items that the Incident Commander must consider when evaluating tactical situations. These items provide a checklist of the major issues involved in size-up, decision making, initiation of operations, and review and revision. The Incident Commander deals with these critical factors through a systematic management process that creates a rapid overall evaluation, sorts out the critical factors in priority order, and then seeks out more information about each factor. The Incident Commander must train and prepare (through practice) to engage in conscious information management. Incident factors and their possible consequences offer the basis for a standard incident management approach. A standard approach is the launching pad for effective incident decision making and successful operational performance. The Incident Commander must develop the habit of using the critical factors in their order of importance as the basis for the specific assignments that make up the incident action plan. The Incident Commander must create a standard information system and use effective techniques to stay informed at the incident. The Incident Commander can never assume the action-oriented responders engaged in operational activities will stop what they are doing so they can feed the Incident Commander with a continuous supply of objective information. It is the Incident Commander's responsibility to do whatever is required to stay effectively informed.

June 15,
2011
Career fire fighter dies in church fire following roof collapse - Indiana.
Recommendation #7: Fire departments should train fire personnel to communicate interior and exterior conditions to the incident commander as soon as possible and to provide regular updates.

Chief Brunacini states that critical fireground factors, including interior and exterior conditions, are among the many items that the IC must consider when evaluating tactical situations. These items provide a checklist of the major topics involved in size-up, decision making, initiating operations, and review and revision. The IC deals with these critical factors through a systematic management process that creates a rapid, overall evaluation; sorts out the critical factors in priority order; and then seeks out more information about each factor. The IC must train and prepare (through practice) to engage in conscious information management. Incident factors and their possible consequences offer the basis for a standard incident-management approach. A standard information approach is the launching pad for effective incident decision making and successful operational performance. The IC must develop the habit of using the critical factors in their order of importance as the basis for the specific assignments that make up the IAP. The IC must create a standard information system and use effective techniques to be kept informed at the incident. The IC can never assume the action-oriented responder engaged in operational activities, will stop what they are doing so they can feed the IC with a continuous supply of top-grade objective information. It is the IC's responsibility to do whatever is required to stay effectively informed.32 This may include requesting periodic updates from interior and/or exterior crews.

Other NIOSH Reports that reference Chief Brunacini, Fire Command or Command Safety

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201317.pdf

F2013-17 - Career Fire Fighter Killed by Structure Collapse While Conducting Interior Search for Occupants Following 4th Alarm - Texas

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201313.pdf

F2013-13 - Volunteer Fire Fighter Found Unresponsive with His Face piece Off Dies Eight Days Later - Maryland

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201307.pdf

F2013-07 - Career Captain Dies Conducting Roof Operations at a Commercial Structure Fire - Pennsylvania

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201204.pdf

F2013-04 - Career captain injured in aerial ladder collapse - Pennsylvania.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201302.pdf

F2013-02 - Volunteer captain dies after floor collapse traps him in basement - New York.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201302.pdf

F2012-28 - Volunteer captain dies after floor collapse traps him in basement - New York.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201228.pdf

F2012-13 - Career captain sustains injuries at a 2-1/2 story apartment fire then dies at hospital - Illinois.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201208.pdf

F2012-08 - Volunteer lieutenant killed and two fire fighters injured following bowstring roof collapse at theatre fire - Wisconsin

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201131.pdf

F2011-31 - Career fire fighter dies during fire-fighting operations at a multi-family residential structure fire - Massachusetts

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201115.pdf

F2011-15 - Paid-on-call fire fighter killed by exterior wall collapse during defensive operations at a commercial structure fire - Illinois.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201114.pdf

F2011-14 - Career fire fighter dies in church fire following roof collapse - Indiana.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201113.pdf

F2011-13 - A career lieutenant and fire fighter/paramedic die in a hillside residential house fire - California.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201038.pdf

F2010-38 - Two career fire fighters die and 19 injured in roof collapse during rubbish fire at an abandoned commercial structure - Illinois.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201016.pdf

F2010-16 - Volunteer captain runs low on air, becomes disoriented, and dies while attempting to exit a large commercial structure - Texas.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201010.pdf

F2010-10 - One career fire fighter/paramedic dies and a part-time fire fighter/paramedic is injured when caught in a residential structure flashover - Illinois.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200923.pdf

F2009-23 - Career lieutenant dies following floor collapse into basement fire and a career fire fighter dies attempting to rescue the career lieutenant - NY

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200921.pdf

F2009-21 - Career fire fighter seriously injured from collapse of bowstring truss roof - California.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200911.pdf

F2009-11 - Career probationary fire fighter and captain die as a result of rapid fire progression in a wind-driven residential structure fire - Texas.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200821.pdf

F2008-21 - Volunteer fire chief killed when buried by brick parapet wall collapse - Texas.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200809.pdf

F2008-09 - A career captain and a part-time fire fighter die in a residential floor collapse - Ohio.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200808.pdf

F2008-08 - Volunteer fire lieutenant killed while fighting a basement fire - Pennsylvania.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200803.pdf

F2008-03 - Nine fire fighters from a combination department injured in an explosion at a restaurant fire - Colorado.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200732.pdf

F2007-32 - Two career fire fighters die while making initial attack on a restaurant fire - Massachusetts.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200718.pdf

F2007-18 - Nine career fire fighters die in rapid fire progression at commercial furniture showroom - South Carolina.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200716.pdf

F2007-16 - Career fire fighter dies and captain is injured during a civilian rescue attempt at a residential structure fire - Georgia.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200712.pdf

F2007-12 - Career fire fighter dies in wind driven residential structure fire - Virginia.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200702.pdf

F2007-02 - Career fire fighter injured during rapid fire progression in an abandoned structure dies six days later - Georgia.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200701.pdf

F2007-01 - Career fire fighter dies and chief is injured when struck by 130-foot awning that collapses during a commercial building fire - Texas.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200619.pdf

F2006-19 - Career Lieutenant dies in residential structure fire - Colorado.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200509.pdf

F2005-09 - Career fire captain dies when trapped by partial roof collapse in a vacant house fire - Texas.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200505.pdf

F2005-05 - Career captain dies after running out of air at a residential structure fire - Michigan.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200503.pdf

F2005-03 - Career lieutenant and career fire fighter die and four career fire fighters are seriously injured during a three alarm apartment fire - New York.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200437.pdf

F2004-37 - Volunteer chief dies and two fire fighters are injured by a collapsing church facade - Tennessee.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200417.pdf

F2004-17 - Career battalion chief and career master fire fighter die and twenty-nine career fire fighters are injured during a five alarm church fire - PA

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200405.pdf

F2004-05 - Residential basement fire claims the life of career lieutenant - Pennsylvania.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200402.pdf

F2004-02 - Basement fire claims the life of volunteer fire fighter - Massachusetts.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200318.pdf

F2003-18 - Partial roof collapse in commercial structure fire claims the lives of two career fire fighters - Tennessee.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200312.pdf

F2003-12 - Career fire fighter dies and two career fire fighters injured in a flashover during a house fire - Ohio.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200304.pdf

F2003-04 - Career firefighter dies from injuries received during a chimney and structural collapse after a house fire - Pennsylvania.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200250.pdf

F2002-50 - Structural collapse at an auto parts store fire claims the lives of one career lieutenant and two volunteer fire fighters - Oregon.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200249.pdf

F2002-49 - Volunteer lieutenant dies following structure collapse at residential house fire - Pennsylvania.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200244.pdf

F2002-44 - Parapet wall collapse at auto body shop claims life of career captain and injures career lieutenant and emergency medical technician - Indiana

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200240.pdf

F2002-40 - Career fire fighter dies after roof collapse following roof ventilation - Iowa.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200234.pdf

F2002-34 - Career lieutenant and fire fighter die in a flashover during a live-fire training evolution - Florida.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200232.pdf

F2002-32 - Structural collapse at residential fire claims lives of two volunteer fire chiefs and one career fire fighter - New Jersey.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200220.pdf

F2002-20 - Two career fire fighters die in four-alarm fire at two-story brick structure - Missouri.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200212.pdf

F2002-12 - Volunteer fire fighter killed and career chief injured during residential house fire - Tennessee.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200206.pdf

F2002-06 - First-floor collapse during residential basement fire claims the life of two fire fighters (career and volunteer) and injures a career fire fighter captain - New York.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200133.pdf

F2001-33 - High-rise apartment fire claims the life of one career fire fighter (captain) and injures another career fire fighter (captain) - Texas.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200123.pdf

F2001-23 - Hardware store explosion claims the lives of three career fire fighters - New York.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200118.pdf

F2001-18 - Career fire fighter dies after becoming trapped by fire in apartment building - New Jersey.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200116.pdf

F2001-16 - Career fire fighter dies after falling through the floor fighting a structure fire at a local residence - Ohio.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200115.pdf

F2001-15 - Residential fire claims the lives of two volunteer fire fighters and seriously injures an assistant chief - Missouri.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200113.pdf

F2001-13 - Supermarket fire claims the life of one career fire fighter and critically injures another career fire fighter - Arizona.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200109.pdf

F2001-09 - Volunteer fire fighter dies and another fire fighter is injured during wall collapse at fire at local business - Wisconsin.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200108.pdf

F2001-08 - Two volunteer fire fighters die fighting a basement fire - Illinois.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200104.pdf

F2001-04 - Volunteer fire fighter (lieutenant) killed and one fire fighter injured during mobile home fire - Pennsylvania.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200103.pdf

F2001-03 - Roof collapse injures four career fire fighters at a church fire - Arkansas.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200043.pdf

F2000-43 - A volunteer assistant chief was seriously injured and two volunteer fire fighters were injured while fighting a townhouse fire - Delaware.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200023.pdf

F2000-23 - Career fire fighter dies and three are injured in a residential garage fire - Utah.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200016.pdf

F2000-16 - Arson fire claims the life of one volunteer fire fighter and one civilian and severely injures another volunteer fire fighter - Michigan.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200013.pdf

F2000-13 - Restaurant fire claims the life of two career fire fighters - Texas.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200009.pdf

F2000-09 - Volunteer fire fighter dies fighting a structure fire at a local residence - Texas.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face200004.pdf

F2000-04 - Structure fire claims the lives of three career fire fighters and three children - Iowa.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face9947.pdf

99-F47 - Six career fire fighters killed in cold-storage and warehouse building fire - Massachusetts.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face9921.pdf

99-F21 - Two fire fighters die and two are injured in townhouse fire - District of Columbia.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face9903.pdf

99-F03 - Floor collapse claims the life of one fire fighter and injures two - California.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face9902.pdf

99-F02 - Single-family dwelling fire claims the life of a volunteer fire fighter - Indiana.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face9901.pdf

99-F01 - Three fire fighters die in a 10-story high-rise apartment building - New York.