The NFPA’s “Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire”, (#YLLDW) campaign focuses on two main groups: residents and firefighters. In the plan phase of this campaign, we are addressing the need for residents to plan, before they even have a wildfire, on what they need to do to protect their homes and themselves. But wildland firefighters need to plan too. And so do Incident Commanders.
This time of year, most fire agencies are conducting annual refresher training on various wildland fire subjects, especially safety, as well as doing their annual pack tests. Fire Managers and Command personnel will also be doing planning. Pre-Incident planning is essential for safe and efficient fire suppression operations. It’s about taking care of as many things as you can before the fire ever starts. Actions that can save time, stress and even lives.
All of us that have fought wildland fires and had to command them know only too well how rapidly the complexity of a wildland/urban interface fire can grow. You can find yourself behind the “power curve” in the blink of an eye it seems. When it “hits the fan” that is the wrong time to be thinking about mutual aid agreements, water sources, air-to-ground radio frequencies, resource ordering procedures, local area maps, and the like.
In the October 2014 issue of Fire Break, NFPA’s Michele Steinberg wrote about a very informative article by Jim Linardos, “Taking Command of the WUI Fire”, that was published in Firefighter Nation. Jim is a former Chief Officer and has served on Type 1 and 2 Incident Management Teams. “If we have prepared our communities towards being Fire Adapted Communities through programs such as Firewise and Ready, Set, Go, then we as the Fire Service need to get prepared too”, Jim said.
As our fire service partners prepare for the coming fire season, I thought the article was particularly relevant and should be highlighted again. Read it, use it, and more importantly, learn from it. As Jim admitted, “It took me 35 years to write this article because I have been guilty of each one of these mistakes”. What are you doing about living less dangerously from wildfire?