Well, when I was out on a call, I saw a firefighter kneeling and vomiting his stomach out.


He just arrived on scene and vomited once he left the truck, and I could tell by the way he walked he was weak and really ill.

When he came back, he tore of his SCBA and vomited again.

I was worried for his safety, but as a Junior from a different company I didn't say anything.

But I have been wondering, how sick is too sick?

I would have said something, but I didn't know if I should or shouldn't.


I really wonder, should he have been out there?  When should you draw the line and stay back at the station or at home? Was he putting himself and others in danger?


I really think this firefighter was too sick to be on the job, but I want to hear other's opinions!

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In my brigade we have the same problem of people turning up to work sick , the problem with this is that like alot of people have already said is that the sick person not only puts themselves at risk but on a 4 man crew they put the whole crew at risk , when you are introduced to a high heat atmosphere when you are sick your body struggles to cope with cooling and the extra strain can cos you to pass out or worst case scenario help to cause a heart episode . I worked as a personal trainer before i joined the job fulltime and had a person that was sick training in our gym and he went into cardiac arrest because his body couldnt cope with the sickness and the strain of a hard workout now this guy was very fit (ironman competitor ) and he is lucky to be alive today because he was in the gym when it happened . I try to adhere to the rule of if your sick stay home , you wont help anybody if your crew has to rescue you because you thought that you were bullet proof and went to work sick .
Thats a great idea.

I'll keep that in mind
As a Chief I would have definatly wanted to know about this. While on the fire ground, or anywhere involving FD, I need to know the status of all the people I am in command of. If he/she is not 100% I need to know so I can get him the the appropriate area whether it be an ambulance, rehab or home.

I read an article not too long ago about a career Lieutenant who collapsed & died while fighting a structure fire. I have not heard the official, final report but the preliminary suspected cause of death was asphyxiation due to him vommting in his SCBA mask during interior operations.
Excellent point Jim. Think about it, how many of the LODD's we read lately begin with the FF not feeling well. On one of our scenes, that would get you a seat in the back of the ambulance to be checked out.
Chain of command usually works. Who were you directly being supervised by. Since this ill FF was not a member of your dept., let your 'direct supervisor' know next time. Let them take this up the chain. It can look like you are a butt-insky by just jumping the chain and telling the IC directly.
Amen brother!Been in that situation before.If I'm that ill,I don't go.It's not worth it.

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