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Mayday: Firefighter deaths spur advisory on portable radio emergency alert buttons

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Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Washington — A new NIOSH safety advisory highlights the importance of training firefighters and dispatchers on the use of portable radio emergency alert buttons during mayday events. 

The advisory was prompted by several incidents investigated by NIOSH’s Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program “where a firefighter mayday was called, the EAB was not used and the incident led to a line-of-duty death,” according to a press release from the U.S. Fire Administration, which partnered with NIOSH on the advisory. 

The NIOSH program recommends fire departments and municipalities ensure their workers:

  • Understand the EAB and its functions when activated.
  • Know the specific EAB functions on their portable radio and communication system capabilities.
  • Know that the EAB prioritizes transmissions for the portable radio when activated.
  • Are proficient in mayday standard operating procedures, guidelines and training that involve the EAB function.

The resource features a Q&A section.

Additionally, USFA offers a self-study course on when a firefighter must call a mayday. 

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