Ashley M. Geczik, MPH, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health; Jin Lee, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, Kansas State University; Andrea L. Davis, MPH, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health; Jennifer A. Taylor, PhD, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health

Safety climate has been identified as an upstream predictor of organizational (e.g. burnout, engagement) and safety outcomes (e.g. injuries). The Fire Service Organizational Culture of Safety (FOCUS) survey measures the industry-specific safety climate of the United States (US) Fire and Rescue Service. It is expressed by two factors, Management Commitment to safety and Supervisor Support for safety. It was previously psychometrically validated and has been administered in over 500 US fire departments with over 60,000 participants.

The purpose of FOCUS is to provide fire departments with objective data to prevent injuries through measurement of their safety climate. Findings and implications were shared with the participating departments in a 17-page report comparing benchmarks of their data to other fire departments. Participating fire departments were given the opportunity to attend FOCUS Culture Camp – an educational training to develop data competency. Over 185 fire departments participated in FOCUS Culture Camps and during the training we collected their queries about identifying organizational factors systematically associated with safety climate. Analyses the fire service wanted to see included safety climate differences by: organization type (career, volunteer, combination), occupational rank, geography, call volume, and demographics (age, sex, race, education). An additional query was to understand to what degree does station busyness affect individual mental health outcomes (e.g. burnout). This presentation will present descriptive epidemiology results in response to those queries.

The FOCUS beta-test included a geographically stratified random sample of 132 fire departments. Departments were stratified by their Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) region and their career/volunteer status. For our descriptive analysis we took the beta-test data used in the psychometric validation (615 stations, 8,575 firefighters) and excluded individuals with missing information on emergency medical services (EMS). This resulted in an analytic sample of 125 fire departments encompassing 611 stations and 8,526 individuals. The dependent outcomes of interest were measurements of Management Commitment and Supervisor Support.

We report descriptive statistics of all continuous (mean ± standard deviation, range) and categorical variables (counts, percentages). These variables were collected at the individual level (age, years of experience, sex, rank, race, and education) and department level (percent EMS runs, percent Fire runs, injury rate, burnout, engagement, job satisfaction, management commitment, supervisor support, organization type, roster size, annual call volume, population served, FEMA region, Center for Public Safety Excellence accreditation, Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating). Individual level variables were self-reported by participants and department level variables were reported by the fire departments.

Variables (burnout for EMS and Fire, engagement for EMS and fire, job satisfaction, Management Commitment, Supervisor Support) were obtained using a 5-point Likert scale. Beta coefficients were rescaled to a 100-point scale for interpretability.

Pearson correlation matrixes were run for continuous variables to investigate correlations between department level and safety climate variables. Simple linear regression models were run to understand the associations between our dependent outcomes of Management Commitment and Supervisor Support with all covariates. Data collection is complete and analyses (linear regression modeling) are continuing. The protocol received Institutional Review Board approval. All analyses were conducted using SAS 9.4.

The mean age of the analytic sample was 40.21 (±4.84) and the mean years of experience was 16.05 (±4.46). The sample included 90.2% males and 5.5% females. In terms of rank, 64.4% held non-officer positions, 27.4% were Lieutenants or Captains, and 5.1% were either Battalion Chiefs, Chiefs, or Commissioners. Most of the analytic population were White (70.9%). A majority of respondents held an undergraduate degree (40.6%) followed by high school degree or equivalent (31.7%). We observed a high number of missing for the education variable (n=1,631, 19.1%) that was not observed for other variables. Individuals (16.5%) reported that they had experienced an injury in the past 12 months of responding to the survey. This sample included 53.6% career, 27.2% combination (career and volunteer), and 19.2% volunteer fire departments. The mean Management Commitment score was 71.89 (±10.38) and the mean Supervisor Support score was 81.74 (±5.19) for the 125 fire departments. There were differences in organizational outcomes when participants were thinking about their work on an EMS run versus a fire run. The mean Engagement on EMS was 70.94 (range:41.67-88.18) versus 80.27 (60.67-91.18) on fire runs. The mean burnout EMS was 45.84 (35.68-59.56) versus 42.12 (33.33-54.10) on fire runs. We observed a high correlation between Management Commitment and job satisfaction. A similar correlation was observed between Supervisor Support and job satisfaction. Additional results on linear regression modeling will be provided for the presentation.

We investigated the differences and similarities between 125 of the participating fire departments which reported data on EMS and fire response. Additionally, we are investigating what is driving the difference between Management Commitment and Supervisor Support scores. We will present these findings during the presentation.

Our work provides descriptive summaries to our fire service partners on data that was collected during the FOCUS beta-test.

Tags: Applied research, Hazardous Work Environments and Safety, Safety Climate; Safety Management; and Training