Everyone was affected by Yarnell. In my mind, it was the defining event for my generation of fire. And I think we're still figuring out what that means.
“Being able to carry people through their journey and help them grow. That's my jam. If I could come in every day and my job was to empower people and teach them—that's like my dream job.”
“What I couldn't change as a hotshot superintendent, I tried to influence as an FMO. And then, when I reached the limits of an FMO, I knew that I had to think bigger and about where I could have more influence. So, I went to WFAP with 450 students a year. I could directly influence future generations of leaders, managers, and FMOs . . .”
I believe Dispatchers are critical to the success of the fire management organization,” Jeff says. “And yet they are often overlooked and underappreciated. Out of sight; out of mind.
I think that there are always ‘lessons’ all around us. We just have to be open and receptive to them . . . It’s all about the people, not the process . . . If we’re open minded, the learning opportunities are always there.
It is the nature of our job that we are thrown into high-risk operations with strangers. We have to quickly develop trust (or not), evaluate risk, and depend at least partly on strangers for our safety, which makes ours a strange and unique occupation.
The culmination of our crew’s training is the South Canyon Staff Ride. That’s where a lot of tremendous lessons are learned up on that hill during this Staff Ride experience.
I think that a community of people have to mutually agree and respect each other’s differences and have that painful conflict that comes with diversity. I think we can do that respectfully. We’re going to have to accomplish this sooner than later because, for lots of reasons, we’re getting to a place where it’s not sustainable to continue doing things the way that we have been.
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.
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.