Resilience, culture change, and cancer risk reduction in a fire rescue organization: Clean gear as the new badge of honor

Tyler R Harrison, Fan Yang, David Anderson, Susan Morgan, Jessica Wendorf Muhamad, Edmund Talavera, Natasha Solle, David J Lee, Alberto J Caban-Martinez, Erin Kobetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Fire rescue organizations are central to community models of resilience, especially in the context of crisis. The ability of fire rescue organizations to fulfill their role relies on their ability to operate at full capacity; however, fire rescue services may face internal crises that require these organizations to be resilient in their own right. This study uses grounded theory drawing on concepts of organizational culture and resilience to show how one key partner in the community model of resilience (Palm Beach County Fire Rescue) is working to address their own crisis—an epidemic of cancer. Firefighters are engaging in behaviours to increase resilience by working towards cultural change to reduce cancer risk, using social capital to increase networks and expertise, and utilizing internal assets to enact change. Barriers to change include cultural practices, perceived threats to occupational practice, and logistics and resources to enact desired change. A model of risk reduction and resilience is advanced that explores how organizational culture and practice both support and undermine individual resilience and organizational resilience. Implications for communication and change efforts are explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Contingencies and Crisis Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • cancer
  • communication design
  • firefighters
  • health assets
  • organizational culture
  • resilience
  • risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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