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.
We’d like you to meet two women from the fire service living a life filled with joy, struggle, loss, adventure, and tough decisions—just like many of us.
Ben wants to share all that he learned from this tragic experience with the wildland fire community—so that others might be better prepared for reacting and responding to critical incidents.
[This article originally appeared as the “One of Our Own” feature in the 2021 Summer Issue of Two More Chains.] As you’re about to discover, Kip Gray has an important story—and insights and learning—to share with us. This man’s unique perspective helps enrich his stories, his learnings. In 1999, after working on engines on Oregon’s … Continue reading He’d Rather You Call Him a ‘Learner’ Not a ‘Survivor’
[This article originally appeared as the “One of Our Own” feature in the 2021 Spring Issue of Two More Chains.] --------------------------------------------- For this ten-year anniversary issue of Two More Chains, we thought it would be beneficial to get the perspective and insights from a wildland firefighter who’s been in the wildland fire service business for … Continue reading Insights on Resiliency and Innovation with Advice for New and Older Firefighters