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Lessons From the US Army: Make Every Leader a Safety Officer

Winter Fire School

Dirk A. Christian

Fire Officer Program Manager
Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute

Dirk Christian is a twenty-eight year veteran of the fire service and currently serves as a volunteer fire chief for Shawnee County Fire District 4, west of Topeka, Kansas. Dirk is a retired United States Army colonel with thirty years of professional military service to the State and Nation. He is a former Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (WMD-CST) commander. Chief Christian is an active member of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors, the Fire Department Safety Officers Association, and he volunteers as a research safety analyst for firefighterclosecalls.com. Dirk works full-time as the fire officer program manager for the University of Kansas, Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute.

  • SAT AM
  • Start: 8:00 A.M., Saturday, February 2, 2019
  • End: 12:00 P.M., Saturday, February 2, 2019
  • Repeat Delivery
  • SAT PM
  • Start: 1:30 P.M., Saturday, February 2, 2019
  • End: 5:30 P.M., Saturday, February 2, 2019
  • Repeat Delivery
  • SUN AM
  • Start: 8:00 A.M., Sunday, February 3, 2019
  • End: 12:00 P.M., Sunday, February 3, 2019

Leading through acceptable managed risk is an underlying principle of successful US Army leadership development. Soldiers and leaders are required to conduct garrison operations, multi-echelon training events, and contingency operations, including combat operations in the most challenging environments and conditions. Safety practices and risk management is infused into the culture of the US Army at every level and in every operation. With over eighteen years of high intensity contingency operational experience and lessons learned, the US Army's accident rate is nearly nine times lower than the accident rate for US business and industry. This workshop brings these lessons and practices to your fire department. This session guides the fire service audience through the four cornerstone principles of the US Army safety program, including conducting repetitive training, multi-echelon ongoing training practices, practice safety as part of everyone's job, establishing universal and standardized safety planning procedures, and enforce and conduct routine after action review procedures. The fire service environment will be explored and comparisons are highlighted and openly discussed throughout this program. Topics include comparisons of military garrison operations to fire station activities, conducting risk managed multi-echelon training activities, and the comparison of high tempo contingency or ground combat activities to safe, effective fireground and emergency response activities, while leading through each with managed risk. Participants will become familiar with the concept of, 'every soldier is a safety officer,' as we reinforce the demonstrated success of this Army-wide cultural requirement. Examples in this class include historic case studies, open dialogue regarding safety culture, and references to NFPA 1500 and NFPA 1521, along with practical, everyday fire service relevance.