Risk Management on the Fireground

Issue 10 and Volume 162.

BY HOWARD J. HILL At different times in its history, the fire service has employed various types of management theories. In the 1960s, it was personnel management techniques; in the 1970s, it was management by objectives. In the 21st century, it is using risk management to understand the reality of managing operating firefighting personnel. This article will examine risk management concepts to identify and control the risks firefighters face on the fireground. When the International Association of Fire Fighters investigates a firefighter fatality, a fundamental question to answer is, Was it appropriate for the firefighter to be in the building? No active firefighting operation is ever risk-free. Firefighters expect and accept a degree of risk during routine firefighting and emergency operations. Fireground risk management is a tool to determine which risks are acceptable. In analyzing risk, the two basic principles are as follows: Do not risk a lot to save…

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