1. Cultural Change

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Define and advocate the need for a cultural change within the fire service relating to safety; incorporating leadership, management, supervision, accountability and personal responsibility.

Culture is generally defined as the behaviors, attitudes, values, and beliefs that are shared within a group or organization. It reflects the collective perception of right and wrong, good and bad, or desirable and undesirable actions and characteristics.

The safety culture within a fire department is reflected through its members’ behaviors, attitudes and actions in and out of the station as well as on the fire ground. The 1st Initiative asks us to explore the characteristics of our departments to bring about a higher commitment to safety.

Nationwide, the firefighter’s personal protective ensemble, apparatus and equipment technology, available training and safety resources, and safety standards are at the highest, safest levels ever experienced in fire service history. However, United States Fire Administration statistics reveal a ten-year plateau of more than 100 firefighter line-of-duty deaths and approximately 10,000 serious line-of-duty injuries each year. To worsen matters, firefighters are being injured and killed on incidents at rates close to those of 20 years ago. Case analyses show that most of these line-of-duty deaths and injuries are preventable. Within the context of Everyone Goes Home® and the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives, no advocacy point carries more importance and potential than the need to change the culture of safety from within. Clearly, the fire service must change its attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors toward safety if reductions in firefighter injuries and fatalities are going to be reduced.

Latest Initiative 1 News

  • After the Fire Podcast – Episode 5 In this episode, we discuss the 2019 McMicken Explosion and near-miss incident of Surprise, Arizona where multiple first responders were blasted over 75 feet as a result of an explosion of a lithium-ion battery energy storage facility.
  • Help Shape the Future of the Fire Service The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation will host the National Fire Service Research Agenda Symposium virtually in February and March to prioritize research that promotes firefighter safety, wellness, and efficiency.
  • After the Fire Podcast – Episode 4 In this episode, we’ll continue to discuss the 1984 toluene tank explosion that resulted in the LODD of Phoenix Fire Department Engineer-HazMat Technician Ricky Pearce. We honor his contribution to industry-wide change, and we explore how Phoenix and firefighting as a whole evolved from this unfortunate event.
  • After the Fire Podcast – Episode 3 In this episode, we discuss the 1984 toluene tank explosion that resulted in the LODD of Phoenix Fire Department Engineer-HazMat Technician Ricky Pearce. We honor his contribution to industry-wide change, and we explore how Phoenix and firefighting as a whole evolved from this unfortunate event.
  • Making the Nathan Espinosa Story Early in 2018, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation became aware of a significant near miss event in Los Angeles, California. A rookie firefighter fell through the roof during operations at his first working fire. Within days, the Los Angeles fire chief took bold action to ensure the firefighter was cared for, activated a critical injury investigation, and develop a plan of action to prevent a future occurrence.
  • Promoting a Better Safety Climate for the Fire Service During Global Pandemic, Civil Unrest, and Wildland Fires The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the First Responder Center for Excellence (FRCE), once again, collaborated with Firehouse® and published the 2020 Fire Service Health & Safety Report. The 32 page report, which appears in September’s issue of Firehouse®, includes 13 articles written by respected leaders, authors and experts, covering a diversity of topics, including women in the fire service, the power of podcasts in promoting safety and health and changing the very culture of safety among the nation’s fire departments.
  • Go Down Swinging – The Nathan Espinosa Story On September 19, 2018, the Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to a fire in a commercial structure. Within minutes of arrival, the department experienced a significant near miss event involving serious injury to one of its newest members. Rather than take the incident in stride as “part of the job,” LAFD Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas reviewed the incident and within ten days ordered a top to bottom cultural shift in the department’s response to structural fires. The cultural shift preserved the LAFD tradition of aggressive fire attack, while injecting new practices designed to improve firefighter safety and avoid a repeat event that could lead to an irreversible tragedy. This article tells the tale of how one fire chief and a major metropolitan department recognized a threat and responded by taking bold corrective action before the threat became a tragedy. The story is a model of courageous leadership.
  • UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute Unveils New Report Investigating Near-Miss Lithium-Ion Battery Energy Storage System Explosion UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) today released a report detailing a deflagration incident at a 2.16 MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system (ESS) facility in Surprise, Arizona. The report provides a detailed technical account of the explosion and fire service response, along with recommendations on how to improve codes, standards, and emergency response training to better protect first responders, maintenance personnel and nearby communities.
  • UL FSRI Releases Research Report on Coordinated Fire Attack in Multi-Family Structures The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute has released a new research report, “Analysis of the Coordination of Suppression and Ventilation in Multi-Family Dwellings” based on a series of experiments conducted as part of the “Study of Coordinated Fire Attack Utilizing Acquired Structures.”
  • Fire Hero Learning Network Registered Users Surpasses 100,000 Since Fire Hero Learning Network went live, registered users have earned over 130,000 online learning certificates of completion. The knowledge gained from the modules better positions firefighters and officers as leaders in health and safety training in their respective departments.