International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Bridging the divide between fire safety research and fighting fire safely: how do we convey research innovation to contribute more effectively to wildland firefighter safety?

Theodore ‘Ted’ Adams A B E , Bret W. Butler A , Sara Brown C , Vita Wright D and Anne Black D

A US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station – Fire Fuels and Smoke, 5775 Highway 10 West, Missoula, MT 59808, USA.

B US Department of Agriculture, Payette National Forest – Council Ranger District, 2092 Highway 95, Council, ID 83612, USA.

C US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station – Innovation and Organisational Learning Research, Development, and Application, 20402 Murphy Road, Bend, OR 97702, USA.

D US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station – Human Performance Research, Development, and Application, 800 East Beckwith Avenue, Missoula, MT 59801, USA.

E Corresponding author. Email: tjadams@fs.fed.us

International Journal of Wildland Fire 26(2) 107-112 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF16147
Submitted: 4 August 2016  Accepted: 23 December 2016   Published: 30 January 2017

Abstract

Creating a safe workplace for wildland firefighters has long been at the centre of discussion for researchers and practitioners. The goal of wildland fire safety research has been to protect operational firefighters, yet its contributions often fall short of potential because much is getting lost in the translation of peer-reviewed results to potential and intended users. When information that could enhance safety is not adopted by individuals, the potential to improve safety – to decipher the wildland fire physical or social environment and to recognise hazards – is lost. We use firefighter safety-zone research as a case study to examine how primary research is, and could be, transferred to fire managers, policy-makers and firefighters. We apply four core communication theories (diffusion, translation, discourse and media richness) to improve knowledge transfer.

Additional keywords: communication, fire safety, research delivery.


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