I've been away from this site for a bit, so thought I'd come back with what potentially could be an interesting discussion. While on Firehouse, at the NFA, and even a recent "safety stand down" day at the dept, there is talk about the number of LODDs a year and they unfortunately tend to hold steady.
It is no doubt that this job is inherently dangerous, despite what safety measures, precautions and training we take. However, we hear the preaching from many about the number of LODDs each year and we keep losing about the same amount despite our "best" efforts. Not only fireground, but seatbelts, to heart attacks are contributors to many LODD. Thing of it is, there is an easy way to reduce the number of LODDs each year just by changing the definition and timeline of what constitutes a LODD.
The kicker is what is the give and take of changing such definitions, and even me personally am at odds with this.....so maybe this will spark a discussion.
Here is the issue, today a LODD is pretty much a firefighter dying within 24 hours of a shift or a call. While the call or shift may have contributed to the death, is it really fair to call the death a LODD just because it falls in a time frame? Recently a FF became a LODD after working a shift and was busy in their second job when they died. Was it because of the shift? Moreso we hear about LODD from the volly world where a FF died 24 hours after responding to a call or something. Point is, the person could be at a pump panel for a false alarm, goes home and chops firewood and dies from an MI, but because it falls within the definition of a LODD it is one. A paper mill worker may have worked a double shift, may have been busy, leaves work and dies from an MI. No denying the job could definately play a factor in the death, but it isn't considered a "loss time" accident.
Now the flip side here is that changing the definition can reduce the number of LODDs each year, but that would mean a reduction in benefits for the member's family. Is this something we would want to give up to lower the number of LODDs a year?
I'm really not trying to be callous here, but we know that lowering your B/P, cholesterol and so forth will help us live healthier and longer, but is a cardiac related event 24 hours after a shift or call really the result of the job, or are there other factors involved? I too would love to get our LODDs to ZERO, yet it makes me wonder how we can call some deaths LODD when most other occupations wouldn't.