An Iowa firefighter who survived an 80 foot fall after an explosion at a silo inferno is speaking out about the perilous experience. Back in January, the 23-year-old man and another firefighter were putting out a fire on top of a silo when the structure caught fire. Soon after an explosion erupted knocking the firefighters from their perch. One firefighter miraculously survived, but sustained injuries to many of his organs, his ribs, and nerve damage to his arm. Although the firefighter is expected to make a recovery, the process will take time. Firefighters in the community have rallied to show their support.
According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates, over 50,000 firefighters were injured in the line of duty in 2017 alone. Because they work in varied and often complex environments, firefighters are at increased risk of injury and death. Firefighter injuries run the gamut:
- Firefighters face tens of thousands of exposures to hazardous conditions such as asbestos, radioactive materials, chemicals and fumes that can manifest as cancers or other chronic illnesses even years after an incident.
- Firefighting ground injuries can include strains and sprains, wounds, and cuts. Smoke and gas inhalation and thermal stress such as frostbite or heat exhaustion are also of significance. Other major causes include falls from elevated surfaces and ladders, slip trip and falls, and general exposure to fire products.
- When not fighting fires, firefighters also run the risk of exposures to infectious diseases. Emergency medical services run by fire departments can put employees at risk for serious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, and meningitis that can have consequences to their health and ability to work.
- Any time a fire department responds to an emergency they run the risk of vehicle collision injuries too. Unfortunately in 2017 alone, 18 firefighters were killed in vehicle related crashes, most of whom were struck by vehicles, while others were involved in vehicle crashes. Of the estimated 15 thousand collisions involving fire department vehicles in the same year, thousands of firefighters were injured.
Firefighters across the country put it all on the line in the service of others. Firefighting presents substantial risks for injury to the men and women who serve. When firefighters are injured on the job, they can collect workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and disability payments depending on the circumstances. Although many states have a Firefighter Rule preventing firefighters and police officers from recovering damages when their claim is based on the same conduct or act that initially created the need for the person’s presence in his or her official capacity, there are cases of third party negligence which sometimes result in additional compensation.
For over seven decades our attorneys have successfully handled thousands of work injury cases. If you are a Quad Cities area firefighter or emergency medical services personnel and have been injured while working, contact the Quad Cities work accident attorneys of McDonald Woodward & Carlson PC at 563-355-6473.