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Cultivating a reluctance to simplify: exploring the radio communication context in wildland firefighting

Author(s): Rebekah L. Fox, Elena Gabor, David Thomas, Jennifer Ziegler, Anne E. Black
Year Published: 2017
Description:

Although communication is often cited as a contributor to organisational accidents, complexities of the communication context are still understudied. In training materials and some investigative reports, communication is often presented as an equipment issue or as a simple skill that can be picked up on the job. However, interviews with operational and managerial professionals in wildland firefighting reveal 10 simplifications in guidance about radio communication that do not match the complexities experienced by firefighters in the fire environment. Borrowing language from high-reliability organising theory, this study encourages the fire community to cultivate a ‘reluctance to simplify’ how communication is understood and taught, starting with introductory training. The study recommends a move away from the old information transfer model for communication and towards an ecology of meanings model for communication.

Citation: Fox R., Gabor E., Thomas D., Ziegler J., Black A. (2017) Cultivating a reluctance to simplify: exploring the radio communication context in wildland firefighting. International Journal of Wildland Fire 26, 719-731.
Topic(s): Human Dimensions of Fire Management, Human Factors of Firefighter Safety, Organizational Effectiveness, Crew Dynamics, Decisionmaking & Sensemaking
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 19228
Record updated: Mar 27, 2019