How deaths of Cincinnati firefighters have helped save others

CINCINNATI -- Firefighter Kirsten Worth stood at attention alongside her colleagues to honor her brothers and sisters who have died in the line of duty.

Thursday’s annual Greater Cincinnati Firefighter’s Memorial Service honored two firefighters killed in the past 13 years. No Greater Cincinnati firefighters have died this year.

Whenever a Cincinnati firefighter dies or gets injured, the situation is thoroughly studied and training is adjusted to try to ensure it doesn't happen again. Those new to the department are grateful to the sacrifices of those who have come before them.

“It's such an honor to be a part of this, to recognize those firefighters that literally put their lives ahead of everybody else,” Worth said.

Worth said some of her training was the direct result of the 2003 line-of-duty death of firefighter Oscar Armstrong in a flashover.

The flashover simulator has been added to training in Armstrong's memory. 

“It's a very controlled environment so we're able to see fire at its maximum potential and the dangers that it does create,” Worth said.

Officials added more training after Fire Apparatus Operator Daryl Gordon died after falling in an elevator shaft in Madisonville.

“Over and over and over again - it's repetitive … you do not have to think about it when you come to a real life scenario,” Worth said.

Chief Roy Winston says training is key when the dangers of firefighting increase every year.

“I look forward to the day when we will cease to have our bravest and brightest fall or succumb to these tragedies, when the slogan that everyone goes home really proves true,” Winston said.

Worth never met Armstrong or Gordon, but her instructors knew them well. That’s the reason her training was so intense.

“For them to not want to lose another firefighter it helped our instructors train us well so that we can carry it on and not have it happen again,” Worth said.

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