Fireground Management, Fireground Safety

A More Definite Risk Management Model

Issue 6 and Volume 171.

By Patrick S. Mahoney Our risk analysis framework is incomplete. The idea of risking a lot to save a lot is obviously subjective; this is not really a problem and cannot be overcome, and we probably would not like the results if it could. We need the flexibility of subjectivity to ensure our service does not become riddled with bureaucracy on the fireground. The real limitation is the lack of a conceptual framework to define “a lot” on the benefit side. Too often, we are faced with arguments and recriminations after a fire that went wrong because everybody has a different idea about what justifies actions despite everyone’s knowing that we risk a lot to save a lot. We need a way to express our agency’s philosophy on risk and translate that into policy while maintaining flexibility for the incident commander (IC) to operate effectively. This failure to understand, define,…

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