Background: Medical services for wildland fire incidents are vital and fire personnel need to be comfortable seeking care and have adequate access to care.
Aims: The aim of this study was to examine wildland firefighters’ (WLFFs) attitudes towards, opinions of and experiences with the medical services on fire assignments.
Methods: A survey was used to collect information from WLFFs. The survey covered: (1) demographics, (2) injury descriptions, (3) trust/respect toward medical personnel, and (4) perceived impact of injury treatment on individual and team deployability. Analysis used contingency tables with chi-square tests to compare groups.
Key results: WLFFs in both groups respect and trust incident medical personnel. Private firefighters compared with agency firefighters report a perception of less access to care, a high level of discouragement to seek care, and a greater concern that seeking care could result in being removed from the incident.
Conclusions: Although respect and trust are high, there are concerning perceived differences between groups on several aspects of seeking and receiving medical care.
Implications: Policy changes and culture shifts may be needed to narrow the opinion and perception gaps between private and agency firefighters on multiple aspects of incident medical services.