FDSOA, FIRST Brings Science to Fire Department Safety Culture to OH, WA


Jennifer Taylor, PhD, MPH, CPPS, from the Center for Firefighter Injury and Safety Trends (FIRST) at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University and Chief Richard Marinucci, Executive Director of the Association of firefighters safety officers (FDSOA) are proud to announce the receipt of a $ 1.5 million grant from the Fire Prevention and Security (FP&S) program managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

This ongoing collaboration responds to FEMA’s national prevention priorities on firefighter safety projects “designed to measurably change the behavior and decision-making of firefighters.” the Fire Department Safety Organizational Culture Survey (FOCUS) was developed and disseminated by the FIRST Center under previous FEMA FP&S grants as the first fire service-specific safety culture assessment tool. Safety culture is a reliable indicator of occupational injuries and organizational outcomes such as burnout, job satisfaction and engagement.

This funding will expand the reach of FOCUS by allowing FIRST and FDSOA to partner with state Workers’ Compensation Boards (WCBs) to explore models of scale and utility so that all US states and territories would ultimately be served. The implementation of FOCUS by each state’s WCB-covered fire departments will assess the impact on injury and welfare claims and explore premium reductions for participants.

FIRST and FDSOA collaborate with the Ohio Bureau of Workers ‘Compensation, the Division of Safety and Hygiene, and the Washington State Labor and Industries Division of Workers’ Compensation Insurance, Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP). Departments participating in the pilot will receive an assessment of the FOCUS survey and then participate in a FOCUS culture camp to develop their data skills. Forty departments per state will be evaluated over two years. In Washington state, the collaboration will respond to the Fire Injury and Illness Reduction (FIIRE) safety initiative, which offers a discount to Washington Fire Departments along with State Fund workers compensation coverage.

Additionally, the FIRST Center will launch an online FOCUS Culture Camp to serve fire departments across the country who have already completed the FOCUS survey assessment and are on the waiting list for training.

FDSOA and FIRST are honored to continue their collaboration with three renowned professional and industrial / organizational psychologists: Dr. Joe Allen, Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah. Dr. Jin Lee, Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences at Kansas State University. Dr Christian Resick, Associate Professor of Management and Organizational Behavior at LeBow College of Business at Drexel University and Academic Director of the College’s Institute for Strategic Leadership. These applied scientists will help fire departments and unions in Washington and Ohio turn FOCUS findings into sustainable practice, incorporating existing theory while building new ones.

About the FDSOA

The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) was established in 1989 as a non-profit association. Its mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community. The association is run by a volunteer board of directors and has a small staff to manage day-to-day operations. The association is dedicated to issues that affect the essential role of the security officer in protecting and promoting the safety and health responsibilities of fire departments, communities and first responders. The FDSOA can be found on the web at www.fdsoa.org. Please follow the FDSOA on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


The Center for Firefighter Injury Research and Safety Trends (FIRST) is a research and education company of Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa., Organized to support the United States fire and rescue services through the collection and analysis of objective data. FIRST is led by Dr. Jennifer Taylor, an expert in injury prevention, healthcare quality improvement and workplace safety. FIRST projects include: assessing the organizational safety climate, developing a data system on non-fatal injuries, stress and violence among EMS fire responders, associated mental health issues to the COVID-19 pandemic, policy research and practice, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DCI) in the fire and rescue service. FIRST uses federal funds to ensure search results are free to download for firefighters and the public throughout.

Dr. Jennifer Taylor is the Arthur L. and Joanne B. Frank Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health. She holds a PhD from the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Master of Public Health in Health Services from the Boston University School of Public Health. She is a Certified Patient Safety Professional (CPPS).


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