Since retiring from West Midlands Fire service in 2013, FIRE Correspondent Bill Gough has been pursuing a Doctoral research project with Coventry University which aims to more closely analyse some of the human factors associated with firefighter injuries. 

Bill has been tireless in his desire to improve firefighter safety and reduce operational injuries; many readers of FIRE will be familiar with our articles following his earlier research into Dynamic Risk Assessment.

As a senior accident and fire investigator, Bill had investigated a number of serious and fatal incidents both in the UK and overseas. It was reflecting on his own ‘lived experiences’ that prompted him to take up such a demanding piece of research.

Bill told FIRE: “I realised when reflecting on previous experiences there was a consistent theme. For many of those directly involved, their actions and choices made absolute sense to them at the time. For me this invoked a haunting, persistent and reflective thought – how often does a simple act such as these result in injury; why does it make so much sense at the time?”

Bill’s research is already revealing evidence of great value to the Fire and Rescue Service and the poster he presented of his early findings at the Fire Related Research and Development was awarded the FIRE Magazine/GORE Research Excellence Award for Best Poster in 2016.

This final piece of the puzzle will provide the rarely spoken ‘lived experiences’ of firefighters at their ‘Moment of Choice’. To gather this evidence Bill has developed an online questionnaire for those firefighters who have been injured whilst at an incident.

We at FIRE are delighted to be able to support Bill in his endeavours and would ask if you, or any firefighters you may know, have been injured whilst at an incident to please support and take part in what we believe to be an important piece of firefighter safety research. 

In the first instance contact Bill at Coventry University:

We at FIRE would like to thank you in anticipation of your desire to help us improve Firefighter Safety.