Jay Lowry, the editor of FirefighterHourly.com is calling on NIOSH to obtain the input of front-line firefighters before publishing its investigation of firefighter deaths.  In “NIOSH Firefighter Reports Need Overhaul”, Lowry writes:

While the [NIOSH] team does a fine job of gathering facts the presentation [of information], and how it can relate to firefighting on the ground leaves much to be desired.”

The reports subject to Lowry’s critique fall under the NIOSH program “Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation & Prevention”.   Over the last two months, NIOSH has posted 15 reports covering fire fighter fatalities occurring in November 2006 through June 2009.

A loyal reader of The Pump Handle reminded me of a 2007 letter from the HHS’s Inspector General to Senator John Kerry reporting on recommendations made to NIOSH to improve the firefighter fatality investigation program’s effectiveness.   Impetus for the IG’s report stemmed in part from an MSNBC report “Fire chiefs call for action on firefighter deaths.”

Depending on the nature of the fatality incident, Lowry recommends the NIOSH seek reviews from individuals skilled in different firefighting areas of expertise: urban, suburban, rural and wildland.  Jay Lowry is a former firefighter and fire marshall, and a current or past member of the South Carolina State Firefighters Association, National Fire Protection Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists.