I am posting this response to the above comment on behalf of Thomas Hales,
NIOSH/CDC, co-investigator of the report:True.Exertional
heatstroke is extremely rare among wildland fire fighters.However, it is
the tip of the iceberg.Over the past 12 years at this agency alone, there
were 255 reported cases of non-fatal heat illness and an unknown number of
unreported cases.Public health officials call this fire fighter's
death a "sentinel health event." Sentinel health events are
preventable diseases, disabilities, or deaths whose occurrence serves as a
warning signal that preventive or therapeutic care may be inadequate.Decades ago the military realized the importance of primary prevention of
exertional heatstroke.Under severe environmental conditions, the military
requires hourly rest breaks (e.g., 1/2 hour of work followed by 1/2 hour of
rest).Under severe environmental conditions, NIOSH and CDC recommend that
the wildland fire service institute similar policies.
I feel for the family of this firefighter, but 1 death in 65 years certainly
doesn't seem to call for a reform!