Quincy, MA – The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) republished its third edition of Crew Resource Management online. The manual is now available for download on the IAFC Web site at http://www.iafc.org/downloads/CRM Manual.pdf in addition to its printed version.
The manual, which was developed in 2001 through assistance from the U.S. Fire Administration, the Foundation for Firefighter Health and Safety and Volunteer Fireman’s Insurance Services, defines Crew Resource Management (CRM), discusses success stories, reviews the different components of CRM and explains how to implement CRM in the fire service. In addition, the manual includes an instructor’s guide and suggested CRM exercises.
“The principles taught by CRM – communication skills, teamwork-leadership, task allocation, situational awareness and decision making – are proven techniques to reduce deaths, injuries and errors,” said IAFC President Chief Robert A. DiPoli.
What is CRM?
On December 28, 1978, United Airways Flight 173 crashed on approach to Portland Airport. Despite the fact that Flight 173 was one of the most technologically advanced aircraft of its time, the pilot flying the plane ignored his crew’s warnings, ran out of fuel and crashed the plane. Ten people were killed and 23 injured. Post-crash investigations into this crash and subsequent air disasters gave rise to the concept that human error is the overriding factor in these catastrophes. The development of the error management/crew enhancement program known as Crew Resource Management (CRM) was born from these conclusions.
CRM has been standard training for all members of civilian aviation flight crews for over 20 years. Since CRM was introduced to the commercial aviation industry, air disasters have fallen from an average of 10 to 15 to two to three per year, and for several years, no commercial air disasters were experienced. Averted errors credited to CRM rank in the hundreds per year. The United States Coast Guard reports a 74 percent reduction in injuries since it began using CRM.
The U.S. military, medical industry and shipping industry have also embraced CRM to reduce deaths, injuries and errors. Each industry credits CRM with capturing errors and promoting teamwork that prevented injury or death.
Similarities between fire service decision making and air crew decision-making are striking. Communication skills, teamwork-leadership, task allocation, maintaining situational awareness and decision making comprise the basis for CRM training.
To download a free online version of Crew Resource Management visit http://www.iafc.org/downloads/CRM Manual.pdf.