The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) has partnered with Drexel University’s Center for Firefighter Injury Research and Safety Trends (FIRST) since 2016, through a FEMA FP&S grant, to survey fire departments on their safety culture through the Firefighter Organizational Culture of Safety (FOCUS) program. To date over 400 fire departments have assessed their department’s safety culture with FOCUS, but there is funding available for at least 1,000 departments in total.
FOCUS provides fire departments with objective data to reduce injuries. Drexel University’s team assists with survey administration and data analysis to departments interested in participating.
All departments receive customized reports of their safety culture scores and departments can benchmark their scores to departments in their FEMA region and to similar departments across the US. “There is no other tool or process in our industry that assists with understanding your organization’s safety culture and gives you the ability to compare your scoring against other departments across the country,” said Eric Valliere, FDSOA chair. “Improving your safety culture score has a direct correlation to decreasing your accident and injury numbers. The team from FIRST at Drexel University is passionate about helping the American fire service to strive for a safer environment for our firefighters.”
The program is funded through August of 2020. Interested departments are encouraged to assess their safety culture no later than May 2020.
Departments who participate in FOCUS are also eligible to attend a two-day FOCUS Culture Camp, training to educate fire service members on the relevance of safety culture and the utility of their department’s FOCUS survey results.
Please visit Drexel University FIRST page for more information or to register for FOCUS.
The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) was established in 1989 as a non-profit association, incorporated in Massachusetts. In 2013, the offices moved to Michigan. Its mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community. The association is led by a volunteer board of directors and has a small staff to handle the day-to-day operations. The association is dedicated to the issues that affect the critical role of the safety officer in protecting and promoting the safety and health responsibilities of fire departments, communities and first responders. FDSOA works to helps fire departments achieve proficiency and promote the recognition of training, skills and a secure future. In May 2016, FDSOA won the Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award for its work over 28 years, “as an organization fully dedicated to the health and safety of the nation’s firefighters.”