Today’s Safety First Culture vs. High Performance: What Is Too Safe?
Reduction of firefighter injury and death continues to be an initiative of the fire service. The ability to provide progressive, aggressive, and responsive firefighting and rescue services is desired but is often complicated by the “safety first culture” that has overtaken the fire service over the past decade. As the fire service moves to a safety first culture—i.e., no breathing apparatus in the cab of fire trucks, clean cabs, carcinogen reduction measures, and transitional fire attack models (SLICERS/DICERS)—the ability of competent fire officers and firefighters to make aggressive and progressive critical decisions that place firefighters into difficult environments while citizens’ lives are on the line is curtailed. Furthermore, at times, this new culture is preventing firefighters from engaging in, and learning how to engage in, critical incidents; thus, firefighters are more prone to injuries and death when engaging in these critical incidents. This class will dissect the “safety first culture” and demonstrate the need to find the happy medium between safety and performance.