Archive for September 10th, 2018

Firefighter health – Cardiac Disease

Excerpts from

Study Highlights:
  • The majority of firefighters who died from cardiac arrest had autopsy confirmed evidence of coronary artery disease, or narrowing of the arteries, and structural abnormalities, including an enlarged heart and increased wall thickness of the primary chamber for pumping blood, or left ventricle.
  • Among cardiac fatalities, coronary artery disease, an enlarged heart, increased wall thickness and prior heart attack were strong, independent predictors of death in this study.
  • Firefighters face many dangers, but the greatest risk is from a cardiac event in individuals who have underlying cardiovascular disease.

Firefighters who died from cardiac arrest were much more likely than those who died of other causes to show signs of both atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease at autopsy, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Among firefighters, more job-related deaths stem from cardiac arrest than from any other cause. To understand which heart diseases affect firefighters who die of cardiac arrest, this study looked at autopsy reports for firefighters who had died in the line of duty. Results showed that the most common diseases were narrowed arteries, or coronary artery disease, and structural abnormalities. These abnormalities included an enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) and increased wall thickness (hypertrophy) of the heart’s primary chamber for pumping blood, or left ventricle.

In terms of specific risks, narrowing of the arteries, enlarged heart and prior heart attack all were all independently associated with a greatly increased likelihood of death from cardiac arrest than firefighters who died of other causes. Similarly, firefighters who had a prior heart attack were 6 times more likely to have a duty-related death.

The researchers looked at autopsy records for U.S. male firefighters who died on duty between 1999 and 2014. Of 627 total deaths, 276 resulted from cardiac arrest and 351 from trauma. At the time of death, the firefighters were between 18 and 65 years old.

In the United States, approximately 1 in 7 people will die of sudden cardiac arrest. The life-threatening condition occurs when the heart’s electrical system stops working properly. Symptoms include unresponsiveness and gasping for air or not breathing. Immediate medical treatment is critical, including CPR and calling 9-1-1.

Cardiac arrest differs from a heart attack, which occurs when a blockage prevents blood flow to the heart, although heart attack and other heart conditions can cause cardiac arrest. Since cardiac arrest often is the first sign of underlying heart disease, screening and treatment for common heart diseases are critical.

Several limitations could have affected the study’s results. Among these limitations were differences in autopsy descriptions of heart disease, the use of a cut-off weight for an enlarged heart, and lack of information about other risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure.

To control risk factors, the American Heart Association recommends lifestyle changes known as Life’s Simple 7®:  manage blood pressure, control cholesterol, reduce blood sugar, get active, eat better, lose weight and stop smoking.


Villa Park Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Brandon Santiago, a former Villa Park firefighter has filed a federal lawsuit against the village alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The suit was filed on behalf of himself and other similarly situated firefighters in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Santiago claims the village failed to include holiday pay and sick leave buyback pay in his regular rate of pay. He also claims the village did not include longevity pay and acting out-of-rank pay in other firefighters’ regular rate of pay, which led him and others to not receive the full benefit of their time and one-half overtime rate. He is seeking the last three years of owed back wages, liquidated damages, and attorney fees for himself and similarly situated firefighters who also may deserve damages.

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Lake Zurich Fire Department news

restaurant gutted by flames

Lake Zurich Fire Department photo

Excerpts from the

Fire reduced the former Hackney’s restaurant in Lake Zurich to a rubble overnight Sunday. Lake Zurich firefighters responded to the restaurant at 880 N. Old Rand Road about 1:40 a.m. Sunday and battled the massive blaze for nearly two hours before bringing it under control. Firefighters from more than 20 area departments assisted, and some remained at the restaurant site past 7:30 a.m. extinguishing hot spots. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

Hackney’s closed in March 2017 after 48 years in business when its owner retired and put the restaurant building and 11-acre site for sale. Earlier this year, after months of debate and objections from residents living near the property, Lake Zurich’s village board approved a proposal to build a two-story Life Time Fitness health club on the site.

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Still & Box Alarm fire in Chicago, 9-9-18

This from Eric Haak:

The following images were taken this 9/9 at a still and box alarm fire at 10026 South Avenue L on Chicago’s Southeast side. The first image shown was taken 2 minutes before the box was requested and gives you an idea of conditions at that time. The building was balloon frame construction and the fire had made it into the attic. A man who witnessed the fire told me a grandfather pushed a 7-year old out the second floor window but then couldn’t escape himself. Companies went defensive for a brief time.

smoke from roof of Chicago house on fire

Eric Haak photo

smoke from house on fire

Eric Haak photo

Firefighter standing in attic sticking out of the roof

Eric Haak photo

Chicago FD Engine 74

Eric Haak photo

Chicago FD Engine 104

Eric Haak photo

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