Cultural Competence in Risk Reduction Recruitment for Two Pilot Offerings

The United States Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy is conducting two pilot classes at the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) in Emmitsburg, MD for the newly developed six-day course, P394 – Cultural Competence in Risk Reduction (CCIRR). 

The first pilot class is scheduled to be delivered Sunday, December 4 through Friday, December 9, 2011. The second pilot is scheduled to be delivered January 29 through February 3, 2012. Students will arrive on the Saturday before each class and will have a room on-campus for Friday night for a Saturday morning departure.
Course Description:

This new six-day NFA course seeks to improve cultural and linguistic determinants within the application of risk reduction strategies. This course aims to connect fire/EMS prevention personnel with diverse and cultural groups with the community(s) they serve, specifically to increase the reach and effectiveness of fire/life safety prevention services and programs. CCIRR is designed for a variety of prevention specialists such as public fire and life safety educators, inspectors, juvenile fire setter intervention specialists, fire marshals and code enforcers.

The course applies a risk reduction model, which is used in several other NFA courses, as the context to discuss and interact with aspects of cultural competence. The cultural aspects that this course deals with are nationality and language (other than English), although the principles of cultural competence taught in this course can be applied in any multicultural environment. Students learn that these populations can be potentially hidden, underserved and/or emerging within their community(s).

The course is not about any one particular culture but about the building blocks of culture which correspond to four broad categories of human experience. Note: other NFA courses and USFA risk reduction efforts focus on reaching specific populations characterized by urban inner city residents, rural residents, older adults, young people (from 0 to 5 years), socioeconomic class and disability populations. These populations are not part of this course.

The course introduces students to four fundamental dimensions or building blocks of culture which correspond to four broad continuums of cultural similarities and differences.
 These four building blocks of culture are:
  • Concept of self – individualist and collectivist
  • Personal versus societal responsibility – universalist and particularistic
  • Concept of time – monochromic and polychromic
  • Locus of control – internal and external
Students learn these four concepts and how they connect to the various cultural and linguistic settings found in risk reduction. Students learn to encounter and interact with these dimensions of culture through realistic prevention scenarios and interactions. Even though the course deals with a modest understanding of the four building blocks of culture, students discover that these enhanced skills may bring also bring a decrease in the community risk(s) they have identified.  
Students learn to select interventions based on cultural and linguistic determinants, including some guidelines on culturally appropriate translation methods and how to communicate through an interpreter.
Course Topics:
  • Getting Ready to Improve Cultural Competence
    • Risk Reduction Model/Processes
    • Four Building Blocks of Culture
    • Cultural Competence Assessments – individual, organizational and program/service
  • Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Community Risk Assessments
    • Identifying Risk
    • Identifying Hidden Populations/Cultural & Linguistic Populations
    • Using GIS
    • Writing a Risk Reduction Goal
  • Developing Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Strategies
    • Selecting Intervention Strategies
    • Applying Cultural and Linguistic Determinants
    • Using Translations
    • Communicating Through an Interpreter
  • Action Plans and Delivery Techniques of Culturally/Linguistically Competent Interactions
    • Developing Culturally Competent Action Plan
    • Prevention Interactions Within the Four Building Blocks
  • Evaluating Your Prevention Service/Program for Impact and Cultural Competence
    • Four Stages of Evaluation
    • Need for Cultural Competence in Evaluation
    • Prevention Evaluation in Cultural & Linguistic Settings
    • Challenges in Conducting Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Evaluation
NOTE: There is a short pre-course assignment due two-weeks before class and will be sent to students after they have received their course acceptance letter from the NETC Admissions Office.
Student Selection Criteria:
Students who work in fire and life safety prevention, typically including public fire and life safety educators, code enforcers, arson investigators, inspectors, fire marshals and others whose work requires community outreach in culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Other organizational personnel who have prevention responsibility as a secondary or even volunteer status such as suppression personnel (who work in prevention) may attend. All students should have some responsibility for interfacing with the community within the risk reduction process.
Class Size: 22 Students
Prerequisite: ICS 100 level and ICS 200 level training. Preferred courses are Q462 and Q463 available through NFA Online at Chief’s signature is required to attest that the applicant has completed this required training.
  •  Applicants must complete FEMA General Admission Application Form 119-25-1 available on the U. S. Fire Administration Website at:
  • Applications must be received by close of business, Tuesday, October 25, 2011. Completed applications can be mailed to: 
NETC Admissions Office, I-216
16825 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD   21727
  • Completed applications may also be faxed to the NETC Admissions Office at (301) 447-1441
  • Applicants should not make plans to attend the pilot until notified
  • Stipends for eligible students are available for attendance at pilots. Attendance at pilot courses does not prevent an eligible student from receiving another stipend within the same fiscal year 
For further information contact Gerry Bassett, Training Specialist, by phone at 301-447-1094 or by email at

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