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.
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.
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 often make sense of what happened by investing in the hope that our experience can be helpful to others.
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center staff members share their favorite incident reports from 2021.
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.
As a Korean woman on a shot crew, part of my code-switching strategy was to appear a little less feminine and more masculine.
Finding a mentor, both on the job and in your life, is a great way to make your plan for a healthy work/life balance as you move through both life and career.
The number of scenarios that result in the optimal work/life balance is exactly equal to the number of individuals seeking to find it. Because there are no one size fits all solutions, one of the best things we can do is to share our lessons with each other.