Firefighter Autopsy Protocol Updated to Aid Prevention

The U.S. Fire Administration has issued an updated edition of the Firefighter Autopsy Protocol manual. Extensively revised since the original 1994 edition, the manual addresses additional areas related to the conduct of autopsies. It considers emerging issues and new technologies.

"The updated Firefighter Autopsy Protocol manual is intended to advance the analysis and understanding of the causes of firefighter deaths and contribute to the future development of improved health and safety standards, operational procedures, and technology for our nation's firefighters," said Greg Cade, U.S. fire administrator. "With the continued development in our understanding of the causes of firefighter fatalities, we can all work toward preventing them in the future."

Each year an average of one hundred firefighters lose their lives, USFA says. This protocol provides general background related to the conduct of autopsies, as well as additional information where current autopsy practices may be supplemented to ascertain causes and mechanisms of firefighter fatalities. It includes discussion on the examination of personal protective clothing, toxicological evaluations, and recommends that autopsies be performed in all cases where a line-of-duty death has occurred.

To download a PDF version of the report, click here.

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