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Fire Department
Leadership…A
Critical Safety Issue
By: Chief Dennis Compton
В©
Introspection
• 2004 Firefighter LODD
Summit in Tampa, Florida
• 2007 follow-up meeting in
Novato, California
(Both identified Fire Service leadership
and supervisory culture as a critical issue)
Culture: “the sum total of
ways of living built up by a
group of human beings and
transmitted from one
generation to another.”
Is there a single “fire service
culture” in the nation today?
That’s debatable
Consistent Fire Department Values:
• Focus on service…saving lives and
property
• Strong sense of identity as a firefighter
• Teamwork
• Camaraderie
• Compassion
• Courage
• Acceptance of personal risk
These values are not defined
or acted out in the same way in
all fire departments…and that
influences the differences in
culture among fire
departments.
Healthy Definitions
The focus on service…saving
lives and property is built on a
foundation of training and
respect for the entire fire and
life safety system
Healthy Definitions
The strong sense of identity as a
firefighter includes maintaining a
positive, productive, and healthy
attachment to the position…not a
self-aggrandizing, arrogant, or
infallible identity.
Healthy Definitions
Teamwork, camaraderie, and
compassion are complimented by
effective leadership, supervision,
and decision-making
Healthy Definitions
Courage and acceptance of risk
are acted-out within a standard
risk profile, and potential gain is
factored into strategic, tactical,
and task level decisions
Impact of
leadership on
firefighter
safety
16 LODD
Life Safety
Initiatives
Five Focus Areas to Consider
1. Heart
Attacks &
Strokes
2. Vehicles
3. Strategy
4. Crew
Integrity
5. Training
1. Heart Attacks and Strokes
(Emphasize Rehab)
2. Vehicles
Please Wear
Your Seat
Belts
Avoid
offensive
positions on
defensive fires.
3. Strategy
4. Crew Integrity
Stay
Together:
Voice or
Vision or
Touch
Must be a
controlled
situation and
environment.
5. Training
Five Focus Areas to Consider
1. Heart
Attacks &
Strokes
2. Vehicles
3. Strategy
4. Crew
Integrity
5. Training
MAP is a performance
improvement
tool that integrates into
any training curriculum.
It enhances command
and control, leadership,
decision-making, overall
effectiveness, and safety.
Composure is
critical…and
so is analysis.
Assess Your Department
• How does your department define and
act-out the consistent FD values
previously identified?
• Do you have written SOP’s and
expectations for behavior and
performance? Are they enforced?
• Does the culture embrace a structured
health, wellness, and fitness program?
Assess Your Department
• Are there written guidelines and rules
for operating and riding in
vehicles…including seatbelt use? Are
they enforced?
• Do you use a risk management profile
to guide decision-making, strategy
development, and tactical
commitments?
• Is teamwork valued within the culture
and is free-lancing unacceptable?
Assess Your Department
• Is composure considered an important
trait and is psychological and
emotional fitness part of training?
• Are all members empowered to bring
safety issues to the forefront?
• Are effective leadership and personal
accountability viewed as important?
Assess Your Department
• Is there a process for infusing significant
change into the department?
• Do incident reviews result in information
exchange and positive change?
(Focusing on these organizational keys will have
a positive impact on the culture of your fire
department as it relates to firefighter safety)
Introspection
Fire Department
Leadership…A
Critical Safety Issue
By: Chief Dennis Compton
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