Despite the constraints of the current Covid-19 pandemic, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer is continuing her pioneering research into decision-making.

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton was appointed to the job post at West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service last year.

In partnership with Cardiff University, Hampshire Fire & Rescue and the National Fire Chiefs Council, Sabrina is continuing to build on her previous research into firefighter decision-making in high pressure situations.

On Monday evening ITV Wales aired a special programme about Sabrina, who was born in Wales, as part of its Welsh Lives series.

As part of the programme, ITV filmed Sabrina and her research team carrying out research with commanders at Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service’s headquarters at Eastleigh before the lockdown started.

The research builds on the work Sabrina has done on tactical command styles to now look at strategic decision-making in order to help commanders who are operating under intense pressure and have huge responsibilities, especially when there are lives at stake.

Firefighters from all over the UK were filmed having tests as part of the research to gauge their stress levels before, during and after a mock high-pressure fire and rescue incident.

Sabrina said: “Luckily we have been able to keep working on the research despite the current pandemic. The research team has been remotely analysing all the research we collected and working through the analysis. We should soon be in a position to share our conclusions.

“This really is ground-breaking research because the only way to reduce human error, and to make firefighters and the public safer, is to understand how people think and behave. This research will benefit West Sussex firefighters and all firefighters.”

Chief Fire Officer for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, Neil Odin, said: “This research into incident command and decision-making is vital as we look to improve firefighter safety on the fireground.

“The success of this collaborative work demonstrates the importance of working in partnership.

“The findings have already helped shape our national guidance and we will continue to support the work of Sabrina, Cardiff University and the National Fire Chief’s Council to ensure this research improves the way decisions are made at incidents.”