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Wildland firefighter safety awareness study: Phase 1 - identifying the organizational culture, leadership, human factors, and other issues impacting firefighter safety

Year Published: 1996
Description:

There are many characterizations of wildland firefighters and their work culture. These characterizations vary across all levels of organizations, jurisdictions and types of jobs. As closely held as these perceptions are, as confident as each of us is with our own perceptions--it begs the question of what a systematic look at firefighters and their culture, from within and without, would reveal.

This report summarizes the results of Phase I of a four-phase study to examine the Federal wildland firefighting community and to improve firefighter safety. The first phase identified and assessed the organizational culture, leadership, accountability and human factors that affect firefighter safety in the five federal agencies most directly involved in wildland firefighting: the Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and the Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Fish and Wildlife Service. Based on the findings here, the remaining phases will address the desired organizational culture of the future that will enhance safety (Phase II), identify the steps needed to move from the current culture to the desired culture of the future (Phase III), and evaluate, assist in, and monitor the change (Phase IV).

The focus in Phase I was on systematically interviewing and surveying over 1000 federal (and some state) wildland firefighters to get their perceptions of the underlying issues of firefighter safety, and the organizational culture in which they operate in each of the five agencies and in every geographical area. All ranks from basic firefighter to agency administrator were included. A number of senior experts on wildland firefighting within and outside of the federal agencies were interviewed, and the literature reviewed. The study considered all factors that wildland firefighters said were important in their experience.

Citation: TriData. 1996. Wildland firefighter safety awareness study: Phase 1 - identifying the organizational culture, leadership, human factors, and other issues impacting firefighter safety. Arlington, VA: TriData. 202 p. plus appendices.
Topic(s): Human Dimensions of Fire Management, Human Factors of Firefighter Safety, Leadership, Organizational Culture & Identity
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 15475
Record updated: Sep 8, 2020