Two More Chains – Summer 2019


Cover of the Summer 2019 issue of Two More Chains

This issue of Two More Chains is about tension. The good and bad. The push pull. That mythical sweet spot. Just about everything seems to be a swirl of dark and light, but the specific strain we will focus on here is “standardization.”

Standards are good. We NEED standards. We need to keep improving the assembly line and the equipment so we become more and more consistent and efficient. But there are also downsides and losses in that march toward uniformity—standardization is not without victims.

In the pros/cons list, the benefits column is rather easy to populate, especially after a bad thing happens viewed in any way as tied to “lack of standards.” Many a conference room table have endured fist pounding and heavy words related to standards, or lack thereof, especially in the wake of tragedy.

Even then, how do we move forward matching process and equipment with so many ego-powered defenders of the “how we’ve always done it” model? It’s not easy. But it is possible. This is the key take away: Change is possible. That is called hope, and it is crucial to our collective survival. Look for it in the stories in this issue of Two More Chains.

Take a good look as we peel back the tint on how this stuff happens and why.

Click here to read it: Summer 2019 Two More Chains


2 thoughts on “Two More Chains – Summer 2019

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this Summer 2019 Two More Chains post:

    “Wisdom Hides in Plain Sight – Other well-brined pyro-junkies will wax not-so-poetic about the black and white nature of fireline fatalities. You know, the old “if somebody died, somebody screwed up” perspective. The ultimate “bad apple” proponents. Those same souvenirs (you know, a trinket from the past) will also warn against the ultimate danger of “Group Think.” Group Think is best achieved when too many of the same haircuts are gathered around the map. Again, an internal plea for diversity. Wisdom has a wide ranging wardrobe, it often hides in plain sight. … Let’s make different the standard”

    On the contrary, in ALMOST all cases, if somebody died, somebody screwed up, both at the individual and the organizational levels, is an accurate statement based on past experience and wildland fire fatality history. It has very little to do with being a “bad apple” proponent. Merely changing the way investigations are done or the title of the investigation process doesn’t change what occurred, it changes what the report reveals as “factual.”

    Please take the time to read Dr. Ted Putnam’s 2011 published IAWF research paper titled “Accidents, Accident Guides, Stories, and the Truth.” Curiously, the WLFLLC refused to publish his paper despite numerous attempts by the author and myself to get it published, which can ONLY be found on and this informative and insightful website posted on October 15, 2018.

    ( ).

    Please also take the time to read “A Review of Literature: Individual Blame vs. Organizational Function Logics in Accident Analysis” by Maurizio Catino
    (2008) Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 16.
    ( )

    In addition, it is hard to imagine that the Wildland Fire LLC (WLFLLC) would discount a known “hazardous attitude” identified in the IRPG when talking about “Group Think.”

    And then to disingenuously simplify that “Group Think is best achieved when too many of the same haircuts are gathered around the map.” Group Think has nothing whatsoever to do with WFs and FFs “gathered around the map.” Groupthink has everything to do with the discussions and decisions and actions and outcomes of all that that the “gathered around the map” entails.

    Moreover, one of the mainstays of High Reliability Organizations (HROs) is a reluctance to simplify, something endorsed by the WLFLLC as well as almost all wildland fire leadership training courses. And yes, I realize that you must simplify because you’re limited on space in each article

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