New Tool Helps Fire Departments FOCUS on a Safer Culture

The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) and the Center for Firefighter Injury Research & Safety Trends (FIRST) at Drexel University have partnered to help fire departments FOCUS on their safety culture. FOCUS–the Fire Service Organizational Culture of Safety survey–was developed through the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant R&D Program specifically for the fire service and is a tool that will provide your fire department with objective data to assess your safety culture. A validation study showed for every 10-point increase in FOCUS score, there is on average a…

• 6 percent decrease in Firefighter Injury Rate.

• 2.5-point decrease in Burnout.

• 8-point increase in Job Satisfaction/Morale.

• 7-point increase in Work Engagement.

“…In my heart I believe that we promote a safe culture…but it was gratifying to see that others in our organization believe this to be true also…I like the fact that I can now put actual numbers to what has previously been a ‘gut feeling’.” – Anonymous fire chief

“We are very appreciative for the insight, and the data gives me a goal to shoot for and a way to measure it. Some of the info I had a gut feeling about, but others were completely a surprise.” – Anonymous fire chief

Get complete details on a FIRST assessment at

PLEASE NOTE: Only one entry per fire department will be accepted (i.e. Chief, Commissioner, Safety Officer). In addition, FIRST strongly encourages departments to involve their IAFF Local in FOCUS Assessment, if applicable.

After administering the FOCUS survey your fire department will receive:

  • • Customized data showing your safety culture at department and station levels
  • • A comparative analysis of your safety culture to similar participating departments
  • • Objective evidence to inform safety related policy decisions
  • • Opportunity to send a member to FOCUS Culture Camp: a one-day intensive training on safety culture, the FOCUS tool, and how to interpret your results from the FOCUS assessment (travel and accommodations paid for by the AFG grant)
    • o May 21, 2018 – Philadelphia, PA
    • o June 1, 2018 – San Diego, CA
    • o June 4, 2018 – Dallas, TX

“This training takes you into the world of data and science. Learning to understand data and science allows departments to go deeper into the world of safety. In time this will allow facts to be the rule in place of opinion or theory.” – FOCUS Culture Camp Participant

“I believe the part where we broke down the data for our organization was the most enjoyable. It helped me understand more about my organization and what I must do when I return home to prepare our people for the future of improving our safety culture. It showed me that the people are the ones that create the safety culture in any organization.”

– FOCUS Culture Camp Participant

Please direct any questions to either of the following FIRST Team members:

Andrea Davis

Senior Project Manager, 267-359-6059

Lauren Shepler

Outreach & Communications Manager, 336-309-1411

The FIRST Center Web site:

FDSOA’s Web site:

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