Tag Archive: Leadership
Three Things A Fire Chief Should Know About Evidence-Based Fire Suppression
Evidence-based practice in emergency services is typically associated with medical care; but the term refers to the application of research methodology to guide operational practice and departmental priorities—something that should apply to fire suppression and rescue operations as well. Historically, however, fire service protocols and procedures have developed through trial and error, best practices and tradition.
Fire Service Fatigue: A Problem You Can’t Afford to Ignore
In the hours after a train derailed in Philadelphia, killing eight people, news reports were already stating that the engineer’s recent work schedule would be examined. This wasn’t surprising, given that just weeks earlier, the National Transportation Safety Board stated that operator fatigue was partially to blame for another train crash that occurred in Chicago last year. Anyone who’s worked in the fire service knows that fatigue can impact one’s work performance. In the aftermath of major incidents, we don’t always focus on fatigue as a factor—and it’s often extremely difficult to know just what role it plays when it comes to vehicle crashes, fireground injuries, or medical errors. One thing is clear, however: employee fatigue impacts every fire department, no matter how big or small, or what type of shift schedule. It’s an issue that no fire chief should ignore.
Trauma Takes Its Toll: Addressing the mental health crisis in emergency services
Amidst growing concern about the mental health of EMS professionals, a Fitch & Associates’ Ambulance Service Manager Program Project Team recently surveyed more than 4,000 EMS and fire professionals about critical stress, suicide, and available support and resources.1 The results were stark.
Safety Management Systems in EMS: An Implementation Guide
Our peers in helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) have been catching a lot of flack in the media recently, due to several high-profile incidents and government investigations. Maybe you’ve been thinking, Thank goodness it’s them, not us. But what are you doing to achieve the safest environment for your staff and patients? You may find my opinion harsh or even critical, but I don’t see much activity at the grassroots level in making ground EMS operations safer. There seems to be an intense focus on “the box,” meaning the area behind the ambulance cab, but not much activity out of (and beyond) the box. Where are the vision, the commitment, the tools and the passion to meet our guiding mission, “First do no harm”?
Building Organizational Agility in Fire & EMS Agencies
This report is part of a continuing leadership series developed for Best Practices in Emergency Services. It shows leaders of emergency medical services (EMS) and fire departments how the concept of organizational agility can be applied in their agencies. Organizational agility originated in the context of flexible manufacturing and later emerged as a business model in service industries and healthcare. Researchers from diverse disciplines approach organizational agility from a variety of perspectives. Most agree that when organizations are not agile, they become less effective and “fragile,” or susceptible to factors that can impair their ability to survive.
Chief Concerns: Preparing for Scrutiny
Scrutiny. It may arrive at your doorstep in a variety of forms and perhaps when you are least prepared to deal with it. Increased scrutiny could arrive in the wake of questionable performance, like when a victim dies after a delayed response to a fire. It could be the result of a probing investigation by the media during budget debates. Perhaps your agency is in the middle of a contract negotiation that raises the level of interest in its internal operations. Or the heightened scrutiny could come even with the arrival of a consultant that you or your supervisors invited to appraise and advise the agency. As the Fire Chief—think of yourself as the CEO of the department—you cannot afford to be surprised or ill prepared for any of these events.