THROUGH THE FIRE
Stories of firefighting and the psychology behind it
If you find yourself trapped in a fire, choking on thick, black smoke and unable to reach your loved ones, you trust that when you call for help someone will come and rescue you. Incidents, which have become our daily business, represent devastating, life-changing events for the people involved. Firefighters are in an incredibly privileged position. We are the ones people trust in their darkest hour, when they are at their most vulnerable. It’s a trust that our profession cannot afford to lose, for that trust is hinged on hope. To lose trust is to lose hope. And that is something that human beings cannot go without.
But what is the science that sits behind the rescue? Who do the rescuers put their faith into? Despite popular belief, firefighters don’t really own super-hero capes, although they certainly deserve the status. We are just ordinary people, who work together to achieve extraordinary things. Behind every rescue is a rescuer; behind every rescuer is a team of people, making life-determining decisions, working to save others. Commanders are also in the privileged position of being trusted to pull together the plan, making sure the right people are in the right place, at the right time to save your life.
The reality, of course, is that firefighters are human beings, just like the rest of us. We have fears and flaws, and rely on our skills, confidence and a certain amount of luck. The stories in this book are about the human side of firefighting, not just the super-human face of it. I’m recognised as a leading international expert on risk-critical decision making within the Fire Incident Commanders body, and hold a PhD in Psychology. I will share with you the science of firefighting and the psychology of commanders that trust those in the field to see through their plans. Each chapter of Through the Fire draws on my experience of managing emergency situations and my research into the psychology of commanders. I unpack these incidents to reveal the realities of fire fighting, including the skills and qualities that are essential to surviving in such a fast-paced, high-pressured and emotionally-charged working environment.
Transworld will publish Through the Fire in hardback in spring 2019.
Kudos are developing a bold new drama based on the book, to be executive produced by Grantchester and DCI Banks producer Emma Kingsman-Lloyd, alongside Kudos CEO Diederick Santer.
“At a time when the female workplace experience is under ever closer scrutiny we are thrilled to be able to bring Sabrina’s remarkable book to the screen. She’s not only a remarkable woman, she’s a natural storyteller and her personal experiences as a front line professional and her revolutionary insights into the psychology of decision-making in extreme situations make this title a truly extraordinary, exciting and unique examination of the firefighting profession”
"Sabrina is one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. I am hugely inspired by her resilience, warmth, knowledge and humour. In Through the Fire she takes us right to the heart of fire fighting, from moments of devastation and crisis to the quieter moments when these assumed heroes question themselves, their choices, the decisions they’ve made in the most unforgiving of circumstances. This promises to be an honest, eloquent, empowering book full of important lessons for real life."