This months First Due Blog Carnival is being hosted over at Backstep Firefighter. The call for submissions is for “Influential Fire Reports”…
My most influential fire report is Kyle Wilson’s LODD report
Prince William County (VA) Firefighter Kyle Wilson died in the line of duty at the age of 24 (April 16, 2007). Kyle had been with the department for approximately 1 year.
Kyle’s death resounded across Virginia and the rest of the Nation with a loud “it could happen to you!”. Firefighters are very good at thinking that things will never happen to them. It always happens to someone else. Even though Kyle worked at a department on the other side of the State from me, it seemed as though it happened to my department. It left a resounding wake up call to many firefighters in my area.
In the wake of Kyle’s death, his department and the surrounding departments did something that might change the way we look at LODD’s in the future. Instead of worrying about potential litigation due to errors which might present themselves during research of the events leading to Kyle’s death, they embraced the errors. His department wanted to learn from Kyle’s death, identify the problems, and develop solutions.
The major factors in the line of duty death of Technician I Wilson were determined to be:
• The initial arriving fire suppression force size.
• The size up of fire development and spread.
• The impact of high winds on fire development and spread.
• The large structure size and lightweight construction and materials.
• The rapid intervention and firefighter rescue efforts.
• The incident control and management.
*The text above is from the report fact sheet
I enjoyed talking on this topic with Christopher Naum and my co-host John Mitchell on a recent podcast taped at FDIC. We briefly discussed Kyle’s death and the report following.
It is amazing to me to hear a department actually own up to the fact that they need more staffing in times like these! Instead of looking at best practices or reports like Kyle Wilson’s LODD report, most departments have decided that the almighty dollar is worth more than our lives or that of the ones we are trying to protect.
Kyle’s death hits home because it happened close to home.
His death hits home because he was so young and just beginning his career in the fire service.
His death hits home because I know this could happen to any of us, at any time, in any department.
Prince William County understood early on after Kyle’s death that they had an obligation to find out how and why Kyle died. They created a task force to figure out what went right and what went wrong.
In the end, cooperation with other departments and the diligent work of many other fire service members, a report was created. The report (fact sheet here, the link to the full report is bad on PWC site) is 300+ pages long and very detailed. They spared no expense in doing this report the right way.
The department has began implementing change due to the report. Some of that change was swift, some long term, and yet others will require cultural changes within the department.
The report has influenced my life similarly to other LODD reports….just hit home a little more.
I applaud the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue for their due diligence in creating this report. For the benefit of firefighters everywhere and in honor of Kyle Wilson.
FC Note: You can find the NIOSH report from Kyle’s death here: Career Fire Fighter Dies in Wind Driven Residential Structure Fire – Virginia
I have not been able to find the correct link to the full PWC report on Kyle Wilson.
I have received the files on Kyle Wilson’s LODD report from a reader. I will host them here until I am told otherwise.
This is my submission for the First Due Blog Carnival Episode 2 hosted by Backstep Firefighter. Be sure to check out the First Due Blog Carnival for upcoming issues!