Managing complex fires in urban environments: a tale of two cultures

Okoli, Justin, Watt, John ORCID: and Weller, Gordon ORCID: (2016) Managing complex fires in urban environments: a tale of two cultures. ICUR 2016 Proceedings - International Conference on Urban Risks. In: International Conference on Urban Risks (ICUR 2016), 30 Jun - 02 Jul 2016, Lisbon, Portugal. ISBN 9789899509412. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Prior research has examined how experienced fireground commanders make task related decisions under a range of unfavourable conditions, however gaps still exist in the literature when there is need to evaluate the coping strategies of incident commanders across different urban environments. There was rarely any study found to have explored cross-cultural differences that exist between two or more fire services with distinct cultural orientations. This paper reports findings from a study that compared firefighting approaches used by the UK and Nigerian firefighters. Thirty experienced officers were interviewed (UK=15, Nigeria =15) using the critical decision method, and retrospective incident reports were collected and analysed. As expected, results revealed that the UK fire service are significantly better equipped with advanced equipment compared to their Nigerian counterparts who often make improvisations using relatively unsafe methods. However, evidence was found to suggest that the Nigerian officers are culturally biased towards the use of certain firefighting equipment. The implications of these cultural differences for practice are discussed.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Conference paper published as:
Okoli, Justin and Watt, John and Weller, Gordon (2016) Managing complex fires in urban environments: a tale of two cultures. In: ICUR2016 Proceedings - International Conference on Urban Risks. Teves-Costa P., D. Quino & R.A.C. Garcia (Ed.), CERU - European Centre of Urban Risks, Lisbon, pp. 531-538.
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Centre for Decision Analysis and Risk Management (DARM)
Item ID: 20278
Notes on copyright: Permission granted on 30/08/16, by the ICUR 2016 Conference Secretariat to make the full text of the accepted manuscript version available in the Middlesex University Research Repository (
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Depositing User: John Watt
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2016 13:21
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2021 14:21

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