The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (LLC) staff reads lots of incident reports. In the 2022 Winter Issue of Two More Chains the LLC staff members shared their favorite incident reports from 2021. Here’s what they recommended for you—and why:
I Suggest: Koffman Road Fire LLR
Why I Liked It: This clear-cut report has a super powerful lesson for a very common scenario: crew leaders out scouting. In this instance, the crew supt. and foreman were scouting when they got in a jam. The supt. jumps on the rear bumper of the truck and gets burned as the foreman floors it. This is the lesson from the report I think is so powerful: “As you decide to conduct any scouting mission as part of initial attack, recognize and verbalize the conditions. Example: ‘OK, we are about to do some scouting in the afternoon in light flashy fuels during initial attack. These are entrapment conditions. Let’s give ourselves as much margin as possible and be ready to get out quick’.” Do that!
Recommended By: Travis Dotson, LLC Analyst
I Suggest: Rough Patch Complex Tree Strikes Vehicle RLS
Why I Liked It: In this RLS, there are a ton of great lessons that range from the relatively common (communications challenges) to the less common (the importance of span-of-control). I was immediately drawn into the scenario: A DIVS with resources spread out all over who makes contact with a Falling Module as he approaches the work area. The shock the DIVS felt as the tree falls toward his truck, the humility expressed by the fallers, along with the wide-ranging lessons—all of which are packed into 5.4 pages—are all reasons why I recommend this great RLS.
Recommended By: Alex Viktora, LLC Assistant Director
I Suggest: River Complex Medical Extraction RLS
Why I Liked It: This RLS recounts a unique story about medical evacuation and patient transport. It highlights the importance of having back-up plans. The writers begin the document with a quick summary to paint a picture of the events of the incident—what happened, who was involved, and where it took place. This short paragraph drew me in to want to read the details of the event and the associated lessons. The story continues as many people engaged in problem solving to consider options, ultimately developing and implementing a creative solution to get the injured firefighter to a higher level of care. Strong lessons presented at the end give the reader something tangible to consider and apply the next time they are in a medevac situation.
Recommended By: Kelly Woods, LLC Director
I Suggest: Overtightening Lug Nuts RLS
Why I Liked It: During the past 8 years, the LLC has received numerous reports of dual wheels coming off engines. In one incident, driving down an interstate highway, the engine driver feels a change in driving characteristics as their passenger-side rear dual passes them! In another incident, traveling down a main highway, the engine’s driver-side rear dual crosses the roadway and slams into a passenger car coming the other way. Fortunately, no one is seriously injured. Due to this recurrent—potentially disastrous—risk, the LLC shares some significant lessons/insights in this special RLS, including the links to 11 reports. Most importantly, this RLS focuses on how overtightening your lug nuts could be causing these engine duals to come off. An equipment expert with the National Technology and Development Program (NTDP) in San Dimas, California explains how this happens and how it can be prevented.
Recommended By: Paul Keller, LLC Writer-Editor