5 thoughts on “Proposed Changes to Prevent Firefighter Deaths

  1. As a career fire fighter with 33 years fighting wildland fires, I read your briefing paper with great interest. While I agree with many of your conclusions, I think your facts are off in regards to communicating weather events on Type 1 and 2 fires. I have worked for many of these teams as a DIVS or SOF2. It was standard procedure for all these teams for a roll call of divisions when a weather alert was issued.

    • Greg, Thank you for your comment. This conclusion was made in part from recent events on the Yarnell Hill Fire. A critical 1526 weather bulletin was issued to the IMT but numerous resources report never having received it at all. Some were lucky enough to overhear it via radio. Other resources report specifically that there was no division confirmation/call back on this bulletin. While yes, this is supposed to be standard operating procedure, it did not occur on the Yarnell Hill fire. How do we put a fail safe system in place, a check and balance system to insure that this standard procedure is always followed, especially in the case of a critical weather update with dire consequences?

      • Yes, you are correct that this didn’t happen at Yarnell as well as South Canyon where critical weather information was not received by the people on the ground. I am not sure what the definative answer is. Do you hace the OPSC sitting in the comm unit ensuring that every DIVS replys back? And then how does the OPSC know if the DIVS has relayed that info down the line on their division? I have also seen where Teams have gone overboard with issuing alerts for every little change in the weather to the point that people just become over saturated and miss the one that is relevant to them. As we all know communication or lack of, has played a major role in most entrapments.

        • Thanks Greg. We are calling for a review and discussion of this process. How do we avoid desensitization and “boy who cried wolf” syndrome and also take dire weather events seriously enough to ensure confirmation/call back and understanding by all relevant resources? The wildland fire community needs to address this problem and seek solutions. Light needs to be shed on this issue, especially since this standard procedure was not followed on fatality fires.

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