National Safety Culture Change Initiative

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The goal of the National Safety Culture Change Initiative is to implement and demonstrate cultural change for safety and health within the fire service. This U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA) partnership with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) will identify individual and organizational behaviors that adversely impact firefighter health and safety and develop strategies to mitigate them. The IAFC’s Safety, Health and Survival (SHS) Section will provide key support to the study.

Organizational leadership and personal responsibility are critical in creating the culture change needed in the fire service to promote firefighter safety.

Since approximately 50% of on-duty firefighter fatalities result from cardiovascular issues and 25% result from vehicle incidents, with many of these deaths occurring at operational incidents, this initiative will focus on:

This study supports the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Life Safety Initiative #1: Define and advocate the need for a cultural change within the fire service relating to safety; incorporating leadership, management, supervision, accountability and personal responsibility.

In addition to USFA and the IAFC, representatives of other federal agencies and national fire service organizations are working on this initiative, including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, International Association of Fire Fighters, National Volunteer Fire Council, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National Fire Protection Association and Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association. Project deliverables developed will include checklists and informational materials for fire chiefs, officers and firefighters; training materials and assessment tools for fire departments and a dedicated website.

The roll-out of this project is tentatively scheduled to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Life Safety Initiatives Summit sponsored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation in April 2014.