Firefighters Attitudes Toward Fire Prevention Activities

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By Marilyn Arnlund

The problem was a disproportionate ratio between the number of firefighters who participated in fire prevention activities (FPAct) and the pace of the exploding population.

The purpose was to research and measure if negative attitudes contributed to the limited number of firefighters' participation in FPAct.

Descriptive research was conducted to answer four questions:

  1. What kind of attitudes do paid-on-call firefighters have towards FPAct?
  2. When does this attitude about fire prevention emerge?
  3. Who or what influences firefighters' attitudes towards fire prevention?
  4. How can the fire service get firefighters more involved in FPAct?

The procedure involved searching for information about firefighters' attitudes towards FPAct. An interview was conducted to get baseline information. A survey measured the attitudes of firefighters.

The results showed attitudes are learned as a result of past experience by observing other people's attitudes and by being openly taught to hold certain attitudes (Schiff, 1970). When people are in a group in which they belong or want to belong, they will be strongly influenced by the group (Abelson, 1959).

The survey showed that when a firefighter became aware of FPAct, it was a positive influence, and when he joined a fire department he may already had a set attitude. The first year was a very influential period of their career. The Fire Marshal, Public Fire Educator, Fire Chief, and Fire Inspector were the leaders that influenced and led fire prevention efforts.

Scheduling and time availability were clearly the deterrents in getting the firefighters more involved in FPAct.

Recommendations were made to provide training in fire prevention by experts in the field. Scheduling of FPAct should include hours other than daytime, and fire prevention should be promoted at suppression related activities. The fire chief needs to aggressively promote and justify the need for full time fire prevention educators.