- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2002

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) Heat stroke caused the death of a firefighter who collapsed during training, the state medical examiner's office ruled.
Andrew J. Waybright, 24, of Gettysburg, Pa., collapsed and died near the end of a three-mile training run Wednesday morning as the air temperature and humidity approached hazardous levels.
A board of inquiry is expected to convene Tuesday in Frederick to begin reviewing the circumstances of Mr. Waybright's death.
The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Mr. Waybright was otherwise healthy. The case is among six deaths in Maryland since Sunday in which hyperthermia was either the cause or a contributing factor.
Mr. Waybright and 12 other newly hired Frederick County firefighters set out in shorts and T-shirts about 7 a.m. from the training center just south of Frederick, Emergency Services Director Stanley L. Poole Jr. said.
An hour later, as they jogged back to the complex after calisthenics, the air temperature was 84 and the heat index 96, Mr. Poole said.
When the heat index reaches 100 degrees, outdoor exercises can be canceled, he said.
Mr. Waybright reportedly told colleagues he felt dizzy at 8:10 a.m. after entering the 20-acre compound. Moments later, he went into cardiac arrest, Mr. Poole said.
Mr. Waybright did not complain until he got to the end of the run, and no other recruits appeared to be ill, Mr. Poole said.
Instructors attempted to revive Mr. Waybright with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, then called an ambulance. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Frederick Memorial Hospital.
Mr. Waybright, 6-feet-2 at least 200 pounds, apparently was in good physical shape. He had passed a physical-ability test and a firefighter medical exam, including a stress test, before starting the training July 1, Mr. Poole said.
"Andy was a bull," said his uncle, John Bailey. "He was ready for the academy. He had been working out and running. He was strong and healthy."
Mr. Poole said the recruits were encouraged to drink water before they left on the run, but they did not take water with them.
"I think there is a water fountain at Pinecliff, but I'm not sure anyone got any," Mr. Poole said. "They usually drink before they go and when they get back."
Under a training policy issued in April 2001, a heat index between 100 and 110 is considered "hazardous" and gives the lead instructor discretion to cancel or modify outside activity.
The policy states that outdoor training may be conducted when the heat index is high if "strenuous physical activity is monitored and limited to 15 to 20 minutes and an adequate supply of cool drinking water is available at the training site."
The training regimen was criticized two years ago after a number of recruits collapsed, the Frederick News Post reported yesterday.
The current recruits returned to the training center yesterday, but physical training had been suspended until an inquiry into the death is concluded, Mr. Poole said.
A board of inquiry composed of fire-and-rescue officials from Frederick, Montgomery and Howard counties and the Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association could meet soon to review training policies and procedures, Mr. Poole said.


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