Fire fighters' assessments of fireground risk

Clancy, David M. and Holgate, Alina 2005, Fire fighters' assessments of fireground risk, in Proceedings of the 40th APS Annual Conference 28 September - 2 October 2005, Melbourne Vic : past reflections, future directions, Australian Psychological Society, Melbourne, Vic., pp. 1-5.

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Title Fire fighters' assessments of fireground risk
Author(s) Clancy, David M.
Holgate, Alina
Conference name Australian Psychological Society. Conference (40th : 2005 : Melbourne, Vic.)
Conference location Level 11, 257 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Conference dates 28 September - 2 October 2005
Title of proceedings Proceedings of the 40th APS Annual Conference 28 September - 2 October 2005, Melbourne Vic : past reflections, future directions
Editor(s) Katsikitis, Mary
Publication date 2005
Conference series Australian Psychological Society Conference
Start page 1
End page 5
Publisher Australian Psychological Society
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Summary Fire fighters are often required to work in dynamic and hazardous environments involving a high level of uncertainty. The present study investigated 110 volunteer fire fighters’ assessments of levels of risk associated with a photographic depiction of a typical grassland fire situation. The fire fighters used a standard fire agency risk-rating matrix procedure requiring them to specify the severity of the hazards depicted and the probability of a mishap in order to rate overall level of risk (1 = Low; 4 = Extreme). The risk ratings made by the fire fighters varied greatly. The overall rate of agreement with the risk level rating of the situation made by a panel of expert fire officers (=1, Low) was only 27%. It seems that use of a standard risk-rating matrix procedure by fire fighters at incidents, as recommended currently by many fire agencies, is likely to result in unreliable risk assessments, at least in the absence of effective training in the risk assessment procedure. The 110 volunteers were also asked to identify the total number of potential hazards apparent in five photographs depicting different kinds of emergency incidents. Identifying more hazards was found to be associated with (a) previous personal experience of a ‘near-miss’; and (b) higher levels of education. The findings imply that when faced with identical fire ground situations, individual fire fighters are likely to differ in their situational awareness of hazards and consequent risk assessments.
ISBN 0909881278
Language eng
Field of Research 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
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Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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