In England alone over 29,000 firefighters have been injured since the beginning of the 21st Century. Many of them seriously and tragically, although rarely, some have sustained fatal injuries. Only in recent years have UK Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) publicly shared in any detail the results of their investigations following such events. It seems the ONLY reports that have been published are those involving fatal accidents. They contain many recommendations, some being repeated in fatal accident reports published years apart. These recommendations seek improvement in regulation, practice, procedure, technology and equipment. Their objective is to protect the operator - the firefighter at the sharp end and above all else, avoid repetition.
There's a very short answer to this question - NOTHING HELPFUL!
For FRSs in England operational injury data is relatively inert. It provides numbers for bean counters. They identify the FRS; the numbers being injured; whether they are Whole Time or Retained; the type of incident described as a fire or non fire incident; and they give an indication of severity based on a three day threshold. They do of course, identify fatal injuries. They tell us that most injuries occur at fires. They don't tell us what was being done at the time of injury, neither do they indicate the role of the person injured or if they were working under supervision at the time.
FRSs throughout the UK have made significant investments in the training and assessment of incident commanders. Investment in an infrastructure that involves a wide range of technology. From the realism of the totally immersive-virtual reality simulation of gaming technology to the use of body worn camera's. Evidence based research has led to improved training and performance review during exercise and occasionally at incidents. The performance of incident commanders is subject to many variants of scrutiny and reflection with view to improvement. Rarely if at all is the tactical judgement and decision making of a firefighter working remotely under the most testing of physical and psychological conditions subject to a similar level of scrutiny.
But who is more likely to be injured?
I'm trying to gather information from firefighters who have been injured during a 'critical' activity whilst at an incident. I'm trying to understand what influences them at their 'moment of choice'. Identifying and contacting them has proven to be quite difficult. Science tells us there can be many psychological and cultural reasons for this which I understand. But it's only by understanding the 'lived experiences' of those involved that we can begin to find ways of improving the safety of firefighters everywhere.
So my appeal to you is that if you, or anybody you know, has been injured whilst at an incident please tell them about the survey.
If you choose to participate I can assure you that your participation will be STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. Nobody will know who you are or where you come from. If it's important to the safety and well being of you and others, I can only use your comments anonymously and then only with your permission.
You will receive the survey link and password and that's all. You won't get any annoying advertising from me, that's a promise.
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