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Crew Resource Management

The concept introduced in the Crew Resource Management manual (pdf) has a proven history in reducing errors in two industries with parallel work group structures to the fire and emergency service—aviation and military.

Communication failures, poor decision making, lack of situational awareness, poor task allocation and leadership failures are listed as the contributing factors in far too many NIOSH Firefighter Line-of-Duty Death Reports. Since the factors are the same as those cited in aviation disaster reports, applying CRM to the fire and emergency service is logical.

Crew Resource Management requires a commitment to change fire and emergency service leadership and operating cultures that have evolved over generations of time. CRM's goals are to minimize the effect that human error has on operations and maximize human performance. Crews trained in CRM learn skills that:

  • Enhance communication
  • Maintain situational awareness
  • Strengthen decision-making
  • Improve teamwork

CRM is not an attempt to undermine the legal ranking fire officer's authority. Nor is CRM management by committee. In fact authority should be enhanced through the use of CRM. All team members direct information flow to the officer. While opinions are valid, the final decision on a course of action still rests with the officer. Using CRM provides for:

  • Better teamwork
  • Newly acquired communication and problem solving skills
  • An operating philosophy that promotes team member input while preserving legal authority
  • Proactive accident prevention

Crew Resource Management manual (pdf)

Firefighter Near-Miss Crew Resource Management presentation (pdf, 1.9 mb)

Firefighter Near-Miss Crew Resource Management presentation (handout version) (pdf)