Developing a culture of safety

Issue 11 and Volume 157.

BY CRAIG H. SHELLEY AND ANTHONY COLE Much has been written lately on the subject of firefighter injuries and deaths. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation held a summit of fire service leaders in March 2004 to focus on preventing line-of-duty deaths. Sixteen key initiatives and implementation strategies emerged from the summit. The first initiative listed was to “define and advocate the need for a cultural change within the fire service relating to safety, incorporating leadership, management, supervision, accountability, and personal responsibility.”1 Webster’s defines culture as the “ideas, customs, skills, arts, etc. of a people or group that are transferred, communicated, or passed along.”2 Culture can also be described as the values, norms, and beliefs of an organization. In First In, Last Out: Leadership Lessons from the New York Fire Department, author John Salka writes: “The moment probies show up at their assigned firehouses for their first day on the job,…

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