Families call for improved safety measures

A statement released by family members of the men killed or injured in the deadly Iron 44 helicopter crash in Northern California in 2008 calls for improved safety measures and accountability to avoid future incidents.

"Wildland firefighting is a dangerous job," they observed in the statement released Monday through Grayback Forestry. "On August 5, 2008, that danger appears to have been compounded by sub-standard reporting, poor decision-making and faulty equipment, putting the lives of our loved ones at unnecessary risk and resulting in tragedy."

They called for the following steps:

  • Demand that the weights on aircraft be verified independently of the operating company.
  • Install secure, safe seats for all passengers.
  • Improve seat belts, ensuring they are protective and can be removed in an emergency.
  • Require the most up-to-date fuel tank safety mechanisms to prevent explosion on impact.
  • Conduct an investigation into intentional falsifying of weights, and hold those responsible accountable.
  • Compose NTSB investigation teams to include only unbiased parties, without obvious conflict of interest.
  • Hold NTSB "chain of evidence" handling to the same standard as any law enforcement agency.
  • Include wildland firefighters in the federal Public Safety Officer Benefit program.

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