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Fire fighters' assessments of fireground risk

conference contribution
posted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by D Clancy, Alina Holgate
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.

History

Event

Australian Psychological Society. Conference (40th : 2005 : Melbourne, Vic.)

Pagination

1 - 5

Publisher

Australian Psychological Society

Location

Level 11, 257 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Place of publication

Melbourne, Vic.

Start date

2005-09-28

End date

2005-10-02

ISBN-13

9780909881276

ISBN-10

0909881278

Language

eng

Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Editor/Contributor(s)

M Katsikitis

Title of proceedings

Proceedings of the 40th APS Annual Conference 28 September - 2 October 2005, Melbourne Vic : past reflections, future directions

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