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2023: A Year in Review

December 13, 2023

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In this week’s episode, Fire Headlines Host Samantha Didion is joined by panelists Chief Bob Horton, Chief Jeff Buchanan, and special guests Dr. Andrew Holter and Kevin Sofen. In this unique episode, the panel reviews the major events in the fire service for 2023. Our two expert guests share valuable insights into the psychological and technological aspects of these developments.

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Listen to the year in review with public safety technology expert Kevin Sofen and organizational psychologist Dr. Andrew Holter on WFCA’s Fire Headlines Podcast.

2023: A Year in Review

In this week’s episode, Fire Headlines Host Samantha Didion is joined by panelists Chief Bob Horton, Chief Jeff Buchanan, and special guests Dr. Andrew Holter and Kevin Sofen. In this unique episode, the panel reviews the major events in the fire service for 2023. Our two expert guests share valuable insights into the psychological and technological aspects of these developments.

Reflecting on 2023

Chief Jeff Buchanan highlights two ongoing challenges in the fire service: mental health and physical well-being. The primary focus is on tackling high suicide rates among first responders and enhancing health screenings to combat cancer and heart diseases.

Kevin Sofen shares exciting developments in utilizing Virtual Reality (VR) for firefighter training. He highlights programs at Texas A&M and the Illinois Fire Service Institute that leverage VR for high-risk, low-frequency events.

Chief Horton discusses the efforts to reimagine the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). The National Emergency Response Information System (NERIS) project aims to make data entry more user-friendly, reduce duplication, and utilize existing data sets for more informed reporting.

Technology Integration and Adoption Challenges

The panel explores the challenges of integrating technology into the fire service culture. Dr. Holter emphasizes the importance of showcasing how technology benefits firefighters by making their jobs safer, more efficient, and less time-consuming.

Chief Horton addresses the challenges of adopting new technology in the fire service, emphasizing the need to accelerate the process to keep up with the rapidly evolving tech landscape.

Best and Worst of 2023

Dr. Holter highlights the challenge of “pop psychology” in fire service publications, where anecdotal or unsupported information gets circulated. Emphasis is placed on the significance of making decisions based on evidence and relying on validated sources. The panel discusses the limited scholarly research in the fire service, particularly in areas like technology integration and health and wellness.

Kevin Sofen shares insights from a podcast that delves into the discussion of eminence vs. evidence-based decision-making in the medical field. The parallels with challenges in the fire service, such as the occurrence of rapid policy changes without sufficient evidence, are explored.

Looking Ahead to 2024

The panel discusses the biggest challenges and opportunities for the fire service in 2024. Chief Buchanan emphasizes the importance of relying on validated sources, such as NIST, for evidence-based decision-making.

The importance of cultivating a fire service culture that prioritizes health and wellness is reiterated. The panel stresses the significance of embracing vulnerability and having open conversations about mental health.

Contact Dr. Andrew Holter: www.FR-Strategies.com

Connect with Kevin Sofen on LinkedIn: www.LinkedIn.com/in/Kevin-Sofen/

You can email Fire Headlines at [email protected].

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