Assessing What They LACK: Accountability is Critical

Editor's Note: The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Courage to be Safe program identified four area where fire officers needed to improve their awareness, training and skills: leadership, accountability, culture and knowledge (LACK). This...


We must also hold others accountable for their actions and behaviors. Make sure everyone uses equipment properly, buckles-up and follows standard operating procedures (SOPs). And if they aren’t, point it out and make certain it is corrected immediately. We have the potential to save the life of someone in our department if we take one minute to be sure everyone is safe.

Accepting personal accountability for our actions and words within the department is not only a matter of personal respect, but also respect for co-workers and the people we serve. This is not a revolutionary suggestion; it’s simply embracing the lessons we’ve learned since early childhood. Accept personal responsibility. It’s applicable in all facets of life.

Holding ourselves accountable sets the highest example for others around us. This leadership will make the fire service safer and stronger, and establish expectations for a culture of safety now and in the future.

DOUGLAS L. BARRY is was 33-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) where he recently retired as the fire chief. He has commanded some of LAFD's busiest fire stations in the South Los Angeles, Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport, and the Wilshire Corridor. Chief Barry has overseen management of department discipline, worker's compensation, wellness and risk management programs and several other key roles leadership and oversight. As assistant fire marshal, he managed the day-to-day operations of the prevention bureau. He has attended L.A. Harbor College and California State University, Long Beach.