Monday, July 23, 2012

Analyzing Human Factors/Leadership Training Effectiveness

Adam Hernandez, Fuels Management Technician, High Sierra RD, Sierra NF, presented his paper, "Evaluation of Human Factors/Leadership Training Effecitveness and Analysis of Prescriptively Implemented Training Approaches" to a group of fire professionals during the April 2012 Technical Fire Management (TFM) presentations in Boise, ID.

Executive Summary:

By investing in Human Factors/Leadership (HF/L) training the wildland fire service has attempted to develop error resilience within the wildland fire culture. The expectation of this training is that it would produce a positive culture change resulting in an incremental reduction in the likelihood of entrapment and or fatalities. Through statistical sampling and by using regression modeling techniques, this study attempts to determine the relationship, strength and significance of HF/L training contributions at reducing the probability of entrapments since its implementation in 2000. This study compares entrapment rate probabilities 6 years pre HF/L training implementation and 10 years post HF/L training implementation. HF/L training was considered effective if results showed (to a significance level of α ≤ .05) HF/L training is related to a decrease greater than or equal to 20 percent in the probability of entrapment per 1,000 person-hours exposed during the years of 2000-2009 as compared to the years 1994-1999. The initial intent of the study was structured to compare 10 years pre HF/L training to 10 years post HF/L training. Preliminary assessments found information from the National Situation Report Archive ranging from 1990-1993 unusable for this study as a result of differing formats.

Currently, entrapments make up 65 percent of on the ground fire line caused fatalities and for this reason entrapments were the focus of this study. Whenever mitigation strategies are applied to an identified problem it needs to be ensured that an acceptable monitoring/evaluation program accompanies it to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of the effort. The advantage to strategically and systematically monitoring/evaluating trends related to accidents will allow for adjustment and focused mitigation efforts.

Results from this study’s regression modeling show that national entrapment probability rates have decreased by 80 percent during the training era and HF/L training is significantly related to this (p-value 0.000794). Federal entrapment probabilities have decreased by 73 percent during the training era, similarly, HF/L training is also significantly related to this decrease (p-value 0.0287). When comparing entrapment rates 6 years pre HF/L training, to the 10 years post HF/L training, results support the alternative hypothesis (to a significance level of α ≤ .05) that Human Factors/Leadership training, since implemented in 2000, has been effective in reducing the probability of fatal and non-fatal entrapments among wildland firefighters by ≥ 20 percent. Results related to the relationship strength and significant of HF/L contributions in reducing entrapment rates were identified through residual plotting and show strong relationships between entrapment rate reduction and the "ramping up" of HF/L training during the most recent 10 years of this study.
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The analysis and evaluation technique that this study presents is intended as a preliminary method or tool to evaluate the effects of HF/L training. A more comprehensive evaluation over a longer study period needs to be made in an attempt to account for all the factors involved.

Read Alex's Paper and More:
Alex's paper and other TFM presentations can be downloaded via the Washington Institute's website.

Congratulations on a great paper and for completing TFM, Alex!


khorshed alam said...
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