Firefighter Safety Culture

Firefighter Safety Culture


The National Safety Culture Change Initiative (NSCCI) was developed to advocate for the need for culture change for health and safety within the fire service. This effort is led by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), in partnership with the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).

NSCCI will identify:

  • Individual behaviors that adversely impact firefighter safety and health
  • Organizational factors that adversely impact firefighter safety and health
  • Strategies to mitigate these effects
  • Organizational leadership and personal responsibility are critical in creating the culture change needed in the fire service to promote firefighter safety.

Life Safety Initiatives

This study supports the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Life Safety Initiative#1: Define and advocate the need for a cultural change within the fire service relating to safety; incorporating leadership, management, supervision, accountability and personal responsibility.

Focus Areas

Since approximately 50% of on duty firefighter fatalities result from cardiovascular issues and 25% result from vehicle incidents, and many of these deaths occur at operational incidents, this initiative will focus on annual medical exams for all fire/EMS personnel, vehicle operations, and incident risk management.

Learn more about the need to advocate for a culture change

Overview of the NSCCI

Deputy Chief David Matthews provides an overview of the National Safety Culture Change Initiative project.

The National Safety Culture Change Initiative (NSCCI) has developed three videos to engage and educate Fire and Emergency Services personnel on the need to advocate for a culture change. The presenters utilize their own incidents and experiences to share the importance of evaluating the climate and culture within your own organization. These videos will give the audience an overview of the NSCCI project and will be a resource to the full educational program, which will be released in the Summer of 2016. The educational program will include both online self-study and an instructor-led program.

Instructor-led NSCCI Training Materials

Instructors are being provided with full course materials to be able to deliver the National Safety Culture Change Initiative program within their organizations. This canned program will enhance an Instructors ability to teach this program.

Featured Resources

Equipment Procedures and Standards

Health and Safety


Management and Supervision





Recruiting Standards and Guidance

Situational Awareness

Training and Education

Vehicle Operations

NSCCI/Safety Culture and Climate

USFA’s Traffic Incident Management Systems

In partnership with the USFA, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) conducted at study on Emergency Incident Rehabilitation which developed the USFA document –) Emergency Incident Rehabilitation as well as power point presentation materials on this topic which may be accessed on this web site where they may publicly accessed for use in the format and information presented without changes.

Training Courses and Opportunities

USFA has numerous Emergency Vehicle Safety and Roadway Operations Safety Web based educational programs. Included in this:

USFA and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), supported by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) / National Institute of Justice (NIJ), partnered on a project to publish Best Practices for Emergency Vehicle and Roadway Operations Safety. The document serves as a basic guide for all firefighters and law enforcement officers to improve their level of safety at work. It discusses training, policy development, education, and technology to enhance emergency vehicle and roadway safety operations.

Best Practices for Emergency Vehicle and Roadway Operations Safety expands on a previous IAFF/USFA training project: Improving Apparatus Response and Roadway Operational Safety in the Career Fire Service. This comprehensive program which includes both instructor and participant guides discusses critical emergency vehicle safety issues such as seatbelt use, intersection safety, roadway operations safety on crowded interstates and local roads, and driver training. As a result of this course, emergency responders will be able to apply basic strategies to safeguard their health and safety while responding to and returning from an incident and while operating on roadways.

Working with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), USFA developed the Guide to Model Policies and Procedures for Emergency Vehicle Safety, a comprehensive web-based educational program aimed at reducing the impact of vehicle related incidents on the fire service and the communities they protect. It provides in-depth information for developing policies and procedures required to support the safe and effective operation of emergency vehicles in the fire service, as well as privately-owned vehicles.

To create a safer operational environment for firefighters by increasing awareness about the performance of modern construction components and technology during fires, USFA worked with the American Wood Council (AWC) to provide an updated educational program for the fire service on modern construction components and technology: (first item). This web-based program consists of:

FireFrame (2013), an interactive tool developed with the assistance of state and local fire training agencies that provides information on the structural use of traditional and engineered wood products in modern construction. (2013), a website with information about modern building components, including trusses, structural glued laminated timber beams, I-joists, structural composite lumber, structural insulated panels, and wood structural panels. (2013), a portal to contemporary information on topics associated with fireground operations. Included are an indexed listing of subject matter experts on fire performance of building construction and contents and a field guide containing best practices adopted by fire departments throughout the United States.

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