Acceptable Loss or Normalizing Risk?

Source: EMR-ISAC Infogram
The Spring issue of Two More Chains, the quarterly e-newsletter of the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (Wildland Fire LLC), asked readers to answer four questions on the topic of acceptable loss and normalizing risk. The intent was to promote dialogue on a difficult topic that may not have one true answer, promoting discussion and maybe saving lives in the process.
The Wildland Fire LLC has compiled and published the results of this endeavor, and while some answers are specific to wildland fire operations, overall most answers can be applied to any fire, EMS, and law enforcement departments and serve as thought-provoking discussion points for dealing daily with loss and risk. The questions:
  • How do we view loss in the wildland fire environment?
  • What parts of our culture place us in the greatest danger?
  • Under what circumstance could a bad thing happen to you?
  • How does recognizing our limitations ultimately improve our performance?
Many respondents stated there were many warring views on loss and risk: it was glorified and inevitable, but also unacceptable and avoidable. Others replied in some way about people thinking they can control things they can’t, and still more responded about leadership, faulty safety culture, becoming too risk adverse, and egos.
The responses are in two documents; the first is a complete list of all responses, and the second is what Wildland Fire LLC sees as “discussion nuggets,” responses they decided needed highlighting.