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Cultivating a reluctance to simplify: Exploring the radio communication context in wildland firefighting

Posted date: November 20, 2018
Publication Year: 
2017
Authors: Fox, R.; Gabor, E; Thomas, D.; Ziegler, J.; Black, Anne E.
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire. 26: 719-731.

Abstract

Although communication is often cited as a contributor to organisational accidents, complexities of the communication context are still understudied. In training materials and some investigative reports, communication is often presented as an equipment issue or as a simple skill that can be picked up on the job. However, interviews with operational and managerial professionals in wildland firefighting reveal 10 simplifications in guidance about radio communication that do not match the complexities experienced by firefighters in the fire environment. Borrowing language from highreliability organising theory, this study encourages the fire community to cultivate a ‘reluctance to simplify’ how communication is understood and taught, starting with introductory training. The study recommends a move away from the old information transfer model for communication and towards an ecology of meanings model for communication.

Citation

Fox, R.; Gabor, E; Thomas, D.; Ziegler, J.; Black, A. 2017. Cultivating a reluctance to simplify: Exploring the radio communication context in wildland firefighting. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 26: 719-731.
Research Topics: 
Fire; Environment and People
National Strategic Program Areas: 
Resource Management and Use; Wildland Fire and Fuels