It’s clear that our firefighters are spending more and more time away from their home units, engaged in difficult and extended fire assignments, and have very little time to also be responsible for implementing the needed prescribed fires back home . . . Every reason for not burning can be overcome when you have a workforce who is dedicated to getting it accomplished. This isn’t magic. It’s how all work gets done. You make it the priority duty for that work team or group of employees . . . In this way, we can start to reduce the risk to our future workforce.
Without realizing it, you might already be leading. Eventually you're going to have to deal with the behavior you've modeled.
Our fireline social structure is just a scrambled version of high school. But in this environment the consequences of that behavior are drastically more severe—like your buddy in a casket severe. Communication is essential. Be nice.
If we agree that our goal is to bring folks home unharmed, but we work in an inherently hazardous environment, what is the most effective messaging to ensure intent is understood and achievable?
We are not in control of the elements influencing fire, we are not in control of the other humans influencing our situation, and we are not even in control of our own perception of what the situation is. In spite of all this uncertainty, as we step into this dynamic and complex environment, we convince ourselves we are in control of our own safety.
We must align our perspectives related to risk and exposure if we are to advance our collective interest in the well-being of our workforce and our landscape.
Have you experienced an event that changed your perspective—maybe a close call? Have you devised a new approach to a common task? Maybe you were part of a success that is worth highlighting. We want you to share your lessons.
We often make sense of what happened by investing in the hope that our experience can be helpful to others.
The (class’s) safety elements have become more robust in my mind. Instructing it now, I feel we’ve really ramped that up. I feel that’s a factor of lessons that have been learned in the community over time. Taking the approach of: ‘Hey, we can do better.’ Maybe to try and plan for that adverse thing to occur even though this is a training.
This publication provides honest information, resources, and conversation-starters to give wildland firefighters—and their families and support networks—helpful tools.