It’s been two years since Prince William County firefighter Kyle Wilson was killed in the line of duty. And as his fellow firefighters remembered the fallen hero on Saturday, they learned his death could bring changes to how fire and rescue crews across the country do their jobs.
Wilson died in a 2007 house fire while searching for occupants who may have been trapped in the house.
He was a 2000 graduate of C.D. Hylton High School in Dale City, and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from George Mason University.
He joined Prince William’s Fire & Rescue in January 2006 and was a member for little over a year before his death.
But now members from the International Association of Fire Chiefs said they want to ensure that Wilson’s legacy is one that prevents further injuries to firefighters.
The association’s safety, health and survival section is working on a new plan to address many of the national recommendations that came out in the line of duty death report that was filed months after Wilson died.
Fire officials from Prince William County and other neighboring jurisdictions spent eight months reviewing available information on firefighter injuries and fatalities.
Following the investigation, they identified areas on a regional, state and national level that needed safety improvements.
“This is the most comprehensive after-action analysis performance in the history of the Department of Fire and Rescue,” said Prince William Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin McGee in a written statement. “The goal of this report is to ensure the loss of Technician 1 Wilson was not in vain, and we are committed to sharing our findings in the hope of preventing the loss of another firefighter.”
That report included:
– Pursue regional and industry standardization of audio warnings — radio alert tones, apparatus air horn sounding, mechanical signaling, etc. — to alert firefighters to an emergency evacuation regardless of the authority having jurisdiction.
– A review of the self-contained breathing apparatus performance related to all the components must be performed. This evaluation may have industry-wide implications.
– The fire service should evaluate their initial occupant rescue attempts to include external alerting procedures such as the sounding of the initial arriving apparatus air horns.
– A national fire service initiative is needed to develop and establish an information warehouse to collect, analyze, catalog and provide a single resource and access point for firefighter safety related issues.
Prince William fire officials have presented the findings of their investigation to more than 3,000 fire and rescue service personnel, said McGee.