Creating a Health and Safety Culture in the Fire Service

( NVFC )

Data shows that approximately 73,000 firefighter injuries occur each year in the U.S. In addition, about 100 firefighters are killed in the line-of-duty each year. Creating a culture that emphasizes safety and health is critical to protecting our nation’s firefighters and emergency responders. A culture of safety will result in less fatalities, injuries, and illnesses, and create a strong, more resilient fire and emergency services for generations.

To help with this effort, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), with support from a federal Fire Prevention and Safety Grant, developed a textbook to train department personnel and leaders about key issues relating to fire service health and safety and how to embrace safe and healthy practices in all areas of fire department operations and culture. Understanding why a culture of safety is necessary and how culture is directly related to reducing risk of injury, illness, and death is the first step in making necessary adjustments to protect personnel.

Volunteer Fire Service Culture:  Essential Strategies for Success covers a wide range of areas impacted by department culture. Chapters delve into the volunteer mind; leadership; personal accountability and responsibility; community risk reduction; health and wellness; response, roadway, and incident scene safety; and recruitment and retention. Case studies, best practices, sample documents, and additional resources are included to help departments turn concepts into action.

The ultimate goal of any fire department is to effectively protect their community and personnel. Fire department culture plays a key part in making sure this goal is met. Incorporate this textbook into fire department training for all personnel.