Thread: Red Card

  1. #1
    Rod
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Red Card

    OK I know that I am new to this part of firefighting, but I will ask the stupid question: What are the Red Card qualifications and how do I do it? I've been looking everywhere for information and just cannot find it.

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  2. #2
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    The "Red Card" qualifications are S-130 & S-190 Standards for Survival. Try looking on the National Interagency Fire Center site, sorry I don't know what the site address is. NIFC is located in Boise Idaho. They coordinate Wildland for the Nation. E-mail someone there if you have questions. S-130/190 is about 60 hour course. SfS is a 8 hour course. All very benificail. Lots of opprotunities for Red Carded personell this summer. Also try contacting your local USFS or State Forest Service or BLM, BIA or any of the like.

    Stay safe,

    Mark

    ------------------
    If in doubt - Call us out

  3. #3
    Captain Hickman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Your state is located in the Eastern Region of the National Interagency Coordination Centers Areas. For a list of some of the scheduled classes in your region you can check out: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/firetraining...se_summary.htm

    For others interested in locating training in their areas you can check on: http://www.fire.nps.gov/mats/matsframe.asp
    or http://www.fire.nps.gov/firetraining/

    Look under regions and find the state you are located in or next to. Then start checking the training schedules. Sometimes you may have to travel some distance or contact the regional office or your local state or federal forest office for classes, not all get posted on the web. You can also check with the National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Land Management, or the Fish and Wildlife Service for possible training classes. As Mark stated, you have to have the basic S-130 and S-190 classes to start. From that point you will need some Wildfire or Prescribed experiance to go much farther.

    Good Luck
    Hickman

  4. #4
    FFLEEMS
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Hello,

    Adding to what has been already been told to you, get ready to carry 45 pounds, 3 miles in 45 minutes or less. This is called the "Pack Test". Start training now. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Captain Hickman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Just to add a little to FFLEEMS post. If you want to know more about the Pack test: http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/safety/packtest.html
    http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/safety/fit.shtml#FIT

    and
    http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/safety/par-q.html

    can give you a good understanding of what you will need to do and can expect.

  6. #6
    newtonb
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Thanks for the websites on the Pack Test. My husband is starting to train for the Pack Test and hopes to get his Red Card in a few months.

  7. #7
    Brat
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    The pack test is not as bad as it sounds. Our VFD is under contract with the BIA and we must meet the Feds standard. Some of our firefighters were going to quit because they thought they could not do the test. Most were surprised how well they did. I am 44 and 10 lbs over weight and do the test in under 42 min. I would recommend you train harder than I do, you'll feel better the next day. Also do not use a back-pack water pump for the 45 lb pack. Use a regular pack or the new vests filled with lead or sand, much easier. Remember the safety rules and stay alive.

  8. #8
    xenophon13
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I am a structural firefighter from SC, and I am soon to be taking the class to get my red card. But the question I have is how do I get in touch with Forestry to get my application in to come join you guys out west or wherever they choose to send me?

  9. #9
    vanaheim
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Like many young firefighters Im also looking into this aspect of fire fighting. In my area (Upstate NY)there are only paid depts in the larger citys and they don't hire often. This site is one of many Ive found and I think it is the most informative. http://www.na.fs.fed.us/fsjobs/fire-hire.html


    ------------------
    "If Prometheus was worthy of the wrath of heaven for kindling the first fire upon earth, how ought all the Gods to honour the men who make it their professional business to put it out?"

  10. #10
    Coyote
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In addition to what the others mentioned, some community colleges out west offer S-130/190 and Standards for Survival. Check your local CC that offers fire science courses and see if they have a basic wildland fire suppression course.

  11. #11
    Monstermudder78
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    My dept is currently looking at getting some guys Red Card certified. However, no one seems to have ever even heard of the pack test. If we went to any fires we would be on brush trucks, not on foot, does that make a difference? Is there some way to get certified w/o taking any pack test at all? I am kinda confused and would appreciate any help. Thanks.

  12. #12
    John_Ford
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Monster, It goes back to the old basics. It you can't reach it with the truck, whatta ya gonna do??

  13. #13
    Smoke_N_Flames
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    If you cant reach it with the truck...send in the smoke jumpers...

  14. #14
    Captain Hickman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    If your plan on working with the Federal Groups on one of their fires, they require you to have a certain amount of training, physical ability, and equipment to perform your assigned duty.
    The best place I could direct you would be to contact your local forestry headquarters with the State or US Forest Service and check with them to see what they would require. Some states require less than the Federal Agencies. You can also go to: http://www.nwcg.gov/pms/docs/docs.htm
    and download the file:
    310-1 Wildland Fire & Prescribed Fire Qualification System Guide - 2000
    This document is about a 117 pages long, but will give you the basic information on all the positions, needed training, and physical requirement for the position. The Feds have become more stringent on requirements for working on their fires for Safety Reasons. Again best bet is to check with Locals and start there.

    Good Luck and be safe this year
    Hickman

  15. #15
    Monstermudder78
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    Hey Captain, thanks for the link. As for John Ford and Smoke'n Flames, the fires we would go to are BRUSH fires. Not FOREST fires. The largest vegetation is sagebrush which gets up to 6 or 8 feet. That means that if you can't reach the fire, you just drive farther. If we were to go to any forest fires, we would only send engines for structure protection. We're not into runin through the forest an all that.

  16. #16
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    Monstermuddin:
    What if your truck gets stuck, breaks down, gets burned over, or rolls over... you will have to find alternate mode of travel. Most likely walking. If you are operating on an engine and get burned over you are going to be running. The engine will not save you. There have been many fatalities on what were "typical everyday brush fires". Don't think it won't happen to you! That is what everyone says. Please tell me that you all don't ride on the brush units as you drive through the flames to put the fire out. The pack test is not that bad. Everyone that operates on a wildland fire should be carded, pack tested and all. Just get it over with. Besides, if you go on a fire as a Type 1 Structure protection engine, you are still required to be Red Carded, AND pack tested.

    Stay safe,

    Mark

    ------------------
    If in doubt - Call us out

    [This message has been edited by mark440 (edited 03-08-2001).]

  17. #17
    Monstermudder78
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Angry

    Mark 440, It appears that you did not read all the posts. I disagree with some of what you said and would like to give you some more information.

    "What if your truck gets stuck, breaks down, gets burned over, or rolls over... you will have to find alternate mode of travel. Most likely walking. If you are operating on an engine and get burned over you are going to be running. The engine will not save you."

    Really? No kidding? I never said I didn't want to walk, or that I had a problem with walking did I? What I said in my first post was "My dept is currently looking at getting some guys Red Card certified. However, no one seems to have ever even heard of the pack test."

    "Please tell me that you all don't ride on the brush units as you drive through the flames to put the fire out." You are right, we don't drive through the flames. What we do is come from behind the fire, in the black, with one guy driving and one guy riding in the cowcatcher putting out fire. The fuel around here burns fast, and then it's gone. 99.99999% of the time it won't burn twice. By staying in the black we can reduce the chance of being "burned over" to practically 0.

    "The pack test is not that bad. Everyone that operates on a wildland fire should be carded, pack tested and all. Just get it over with. Besides, if you go on a fire as a Type 1 Structure protection engine, you are still required to be Red Carded, AND pack tested." This is the answer that I was looking for in the first place. I am in no way dreading the pack test. I was just curious why no one in this area had ever heard of it. I agree that everyone should be tested and I am looking forward to the class. Thank you.

  18. #18
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    Monster, I apolgize for coming off rude, not my intention. The pack test is still relatively new to the Wildland world. It comes about replacing the old, outdated, biased step-test. The step test was measured on stepping one foot up one foot down a 14" box. You were to pace yourself to a tape almost like a metronome. You were to walk this for a set period of time. At the end of such period you counted the testee's pulse rate. You then added the pulse, age, gender to a slide scale. If you scored (if I remember correctly) less then 45 points you passed. It was very unfair, and not accurate to the person in question. Then there was the 1.5 mile run in 12.5 or 13 minutes. This was still not as accurate as the pack test is. The pack test consists of a 45 lb pack (doesn't matter what you use to compile your 45) 3 mile walk (any terrain, just as long as 1 foot is in contact with the ground at a time, you cannot run or jog) in 45 minutes or less. This is a little more accurate in the judgement of ones physical condition. Various government agencies have temporarily suspended the pack test due to a few (less then 5) deaths during or after the pack test.
    As for the potential for reburn; 2 firefighters were killed just south of Boise Idaho a couple years back in the black area they said would not reburn. Just food for thought. I must also add that in the NWCG (National Wildland Coordinating Group) S-130 & 190 that riding on apparatus is prohibited unless personell and equipment are separated. Fighting fire from the outside of a vehicle is not encouraged. Not saying you all are wrong, just that is what I was getting at. I have seen a lot of people in the U.S. drive through the fire to put it out. Quite frankly this scares me to death. Any number of thing could go wrong when doing this. Doing this just puts more danger to life and limb.

    Stay safe,

    Mark
    ------------------
    If in doubt - Call us out

    [This message has been edited by mark440 (edited 03-10-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by mark440 (edited 03-10-2001).]

  19. #19
    Rod
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    Thanks for all the great information! While most of our fires are grass, we have seen an increase in timber and interzone fires. It would be nice if I could convince some of our staff about the need for some additional standards and requirements for our department. I purchased my own wildland PPE's last year. Command thought it was great that I would be the "TEST DUMMY" but still have not seen a "need" for everyone. We are about two months from our busy season, so we will see this year.

    Stay Safe

  20. #20
    Monstermudder78
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Smile

    Mark, no hard feelings. I am curious about the S-190 and 130 part. Are you familiar with using cowcatchers? I am not sure what you mean by firefighters and equipment must be seperated. Could you clarify this for me? Thanks.

  21. #21
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Monster;
    The 130 & 190 are the core curriculum of the "Red Card". In order to red card you must attend these two courses. As for the "Cow catchers", yes, I do know what you are talking about. This would be one of the circumstances of firefighters "improperly" riding on apparatus per 130-190. As far as the other, I am talking putting shovels, pulaski's, mcleods, line packs, and other such objects in the back of a pickup with firefighters. According to NWCG guidelines, you must either make 2 trips (1 tools only the other firefighters only) or have 2 trucks (1 for firefighters and 1 for tools). If you see Type 1 Hot Shot crews or most Type 2 crews the have a "chase truck" that carries all thier tools separate from the firefighters.


    Stay safe,

    Mark

    ------------------
    If in doubt - Call us out

  22. #22
    John_Ford
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Monster, no disrespect intended and none taken. I've been in the fire service for a few years and went to grass/brush fires. Watched the news for the stuff out west. Never thought it would happen here. Well the the Local NPS crew started a controlled burn and ending up ripping off about 300/400 acres. That was a forest fire in Northeast PA. They ended up with 4 hotshot crews in a place you never would have thought it would happen. It was a eye opening experience for all concerned. My opinion, If you are going to go fight Grass/ Brush / Whatever, do the Red Card. and get your 190 ticket. You and those you work with will be the better for it.

    CHEERS!

  23. #23
    LtStick
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In our area the majority of the brush fires we get don't come even close to the ones they have out west every year. Up here in central Pennsylvania. However there have been a few impressive ones over the years. I can remember back in late April of 1990 there was a major forest fire in an area called the Sandy Ridge trail. I don't remember how many acres burnt but I think it was in the hundreds. I was part of a crew that spent the night up there. We did a good bit of walking there. Also If we go to the Black Moshanon State park to assist on one we are pretty much guaranteed to do some walking. We do get lucky some times and get these small ones that we can just drive along and put them out using a short hoseline and a firefighter walking along side of our brush tanker or bye riding on the back of it. It may not be the recommended method but, it gets the job done and the people from forestry haven't said anything about it. As a matter of fact our old brush unit had a front line for that purpose and one of there people who belonged to my department piped it there for that purpose.
    Smoke_N_Flames
    As far as I know Pennsylvania doesn't use smoke jumpers. Although there are probably times people here wish they would.

  24. #24
    Monstermudder78
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Guys, thanks for all the information. I just want to say that I agree that everyone should get certified and I am working on getting signed up. I would like to explain a little about the area I am in. 99% of the fuel around here is sagebrush and cheat grass. We only get about 8"-10" of rain per year, so things don't grow very tall and everything is really dry. Consequently, fires move fairly quickly. Last summer, a neighboring department had a fire that burned about 1600 acres in about 7 hrs. This was a fairly major fire, with maybe 7-9 departments working together. We are almost forced into riding the cow-catcher to put out fire. If we didn't, we wouldn't be able to keep up. Now we only have big fires like this maybe once or twice per year, but all the brush fires move just as fast. I don't think any other method of fighting these fires would work as well or be as economical.

  25. #25
    LtStick
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I would have to agree with Monstermudder78. In his area that is probably the best method of combating the type of fire they normally are confronted with. We use the same technique on field fires and some brush fires. We figure if we can hit it with a 1 1/2 line while were on the move it saves us some time. We use a Duce and a half with two 600 gallon tanks and a 3 inch trash pump. This system has worked very well for us and many other departments in our area. That's not saying we do this all the time. There have been many where we park at a command post and walk into an area to create fire lines because, we have done this as well. There have also been occasions where we've had to push trees over to navigate trails and get to where we we're assigned to go. In our area there are several types of brush units we use almost all are Army surplus vehicles issued out by the forestry department. The biggest are the five tons and duce and a halfs which usually carry between 500 and 1,500 gallons, then there are pickup trucks with 200 to 300 gallon tanks, there are a few crew cab trucks with utility beds and one that I know of that looks like a large flat bed truck with a crew cab. It has a tank and compartments for equipment. There are also some smaller trucks that are from the seventies they aren't as fast as a regular truck but, they have lots of power and finally there are full size blazers used to transport manpower and equipment.

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