1. #1
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    Exclamation Colorado Fires- Volunteers needed?

    Anyone know if they are accepting firefighter volunteers in Colo. or surrounding areas? If so, what is the process for signing up or joining the effort? I am part of a small department in PA that may be willing to send a few qualified firefighters. Please send any information you can. Thanks! God Bless,
    Lefty

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    All resources are requested and mobilized thru regional
    and national mobilization plans.

    You have to be "Red Carded" to work on federal fire incidents, there
    are very few if any exceptions to this requirement.

    If you have personnel and equipment that is available for
    national dispatch you should contact your local state forestry
    agency or the federal dispatch center that covers your area
    and see what they would require to get you on the list.

    http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/ffp/intro.htm

    http://www.fs.fed.us/eacc
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    There are 2,400 firefighters assigned to Hayman, 1,200 to Missionary Ridge and tomorrow 400-500 will arrive at Million fire. Right now there is very little need for additional resources but it wouldn;t hurt to have your chief contact the coordination centers and put you guys on the resource list.

    Make sure you guys have your red cards, proper ppe and are prepared for a 2 week assignment.

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    If they need any red card training let me know I know of someone from NWCG that will train firefighters.
    smkjump@hotmail.com

    Stay Safe,

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    On the subject of volunteers needed. To be honest I had never thought of wildland firefighting much untill this year. Mainly through Firehouse.com I have been reading about the masive resources both in current use and on stand-by for these fires this year. Many articles talk about how urgent pleas are being made for firefighters. Others talk about how the majority of fire crews have not yet been deployed. So there is to say the least much conflicting information even within the fire service.

    Now I had read these articles with growing interest and so I decided to see what the process would be to volunteer. I went through my local OEM who refered me to FEMA who refered me to my State Dept. of Forestry. That is where the trail hit a dead end. I was told that there was no way to volunteer for these current fires, applications are only accepted once a year and that is in December. I was told if I was interested in serving next year to call back. Not only couldn't I offer my services this year I couldn't even have an application remain on file. Not a very welcoming attitude. I was told of the federal "red card" system, which I realize especially now with homeland security being such a hot topic, is an important requirement. I can not however see why someone who is already a firefighter can not help durring such large scale incidents. Especially when the most recent news story tells of firefighters from New Zeland and Austrailia being put on alert, and the possibility of federal personnel who do not normally fight fires being pressed into service.

    Of course this is just my humble opinion but it seems to me that if in fact there is such an urgent need for firefighters then there should be some way to call up firefighters on an as needed basis. There should also be a system for mobilizing more trained manpower from the homefront before going halfway across the world or drafting untrained replacements.

    Alan Shaw
    Stamford, CT

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    Alan....
    I suppose it looks sad from a trained firefighters point of view that you can't help when things seem rough, but that is, unfortunately, the way it is.
    If you are a local resident, there are ways to make money and help out the effort, (you can always rent them your pick-up truck...), but to help on the firelines, (i.e. in "Operations"), you need formalized training.
    I am sure you don't allow untrained members to Scott up and follow you into a structure fire, and the Feds do the same thing. You need training. I have argued on other posts that experience is vital, and you probably have that, but still you need to know the basics!
    There are many differences between wildland fire and any other type, so go and learn.
    One huge advantage between taking the S-130 and S-190 courses and basic firefighter training you've had? The 130 and 190 classes are accepted everywhere, FFT1 in Ct. is accepted in Ct., but nowhere else I bet!
    Take the classes! They are offered through your State Forestry agency. They won't help you this year, but you'll be ready for all the rest, and who's to say next year won't be worse than this one?
    Besides, I believe Ct. al;ready has a crew or two out west even as we speak!
    Stay in touch,
    See you soon,
    Maybe out west, eh?

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    Thanks for the reply. However on the subject of letting untrained people "scott up" no I certainly would not. I would not hesitate to allow a visiting certified firefighter to help at a fire scene. What if the city of New York had said on Sept. 11, that only those who had applied 6 months before could help at ground zero, that companies from Canada and Europe, let alone other US cities could not even cover thier firehouses unless you had been to the NYC academy? LIke I said in my original post, while I understand the need for rules there needs to be a way to call up ready reserves of certified firefighters before putting botanists on the fire lines or bringing in other countries. By the way, Connecticut like most other states is a fully NFPA compliant FFI, FFII, and other certifications. We get dual certificates with each new level (one from the state and one that is good nationaly)

    I think if there is one thing we can learn from large scale incidents like this and the recent attacks on America, no matter how ready we think we are, we may need more help that we originally planned on. There needs to be, in the future, a rapid deployment plan which does not involve time travel to sign up.

    Alan Shaw
    Stamford, CT

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    This very same topic came up during the summer of
    2000, with very much the same replys.

    Wildland firefighting is very different from structural
    firefighting and while the help is needed, we want ensure
    everyone on the line has the proper training.

    I have seen excellent structural firefighters who were
    totally lost in the wildland environment. Just as most
    wildland firefighters wouldn't begin to think about going
    inside a burning structure.

    Sign for the classes when there available, get a crew together
    and get on the list when you can.
    Buckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
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    Default Wildland Firefighting

    So, here we are again. The western half of America is on fire and we are bringing in help from Australia and other countries while there are thousands of available engines and the people to operate them sitting everywhere east of the Mississippi River. This stupidity must stop! Before anyone thinks that I am proposing putting untrained people up a mountainside miles from the road, no I'm not. I am looking at where structural firefighting people and equipment would work and that is protecting the small towns, ranches, and other structures in the fire area. The attitude of "No red card means you are useless" has been around way too long and we need to recognize that it's time to abandon the old way of doing things and move on. The red card certification has to go!
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    Aaaaargh! I can't take it anymore. Reread mtnfireguy's post again, gentlemen, and think about it.
    BFD says: "No, I don't want untrained guys, but certified is okay!"
    That's what the National Qualification System (the "red cards") IS!
    h woods says; "I don't need training! I already know all I need to know!
    As soon as you can convince me that structural firefighters don't need certification, and don't need to maintain records concerning same, then I'll be happy to have you along.
    You both talk about the training and certification you have, and ignore and dismiss the system used for wildland fire. Which is it, guys?
    h...you admit you knew about the system in 2000. Why didn't you contact your state forestry agency then and arrange for training?
    Then maybe you'd be there helping now, instead of wanting something for nothing.

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    Default Re: Wildland Firefighting

    Originally posted by h woods
    Before anyone thinks that I am proposing putting untrained people up a mountainside miles from the road, no I'm not. I am looking at where structural firefighting people and equipment would work and that is protecting the small towns, ranches, and other structures in the fire area.
    CBP...my friend, my boss, are all the FF's that respond to threatened structures certified in S130/190? In Lacey Township...if a crownfire threatens structures, doesn't the municipal department get called?

    I think he has a valid argument here. STRUCTURAL PROTECTION strike teams...could be a huge help in the west. Not from NJ or Maryland....but from reasonable distances. That is what h woods is saying.
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    During the 2000 fire season I had the privledge of working
    with crews from North Carolina, Massachusetts, Florida, and
    Oklahoma. Last time I looked at Rand McNally those places are
    east of the big river.

    The "Red Card" system is not "the old way" of doing things and
    is constantly evolving and is just for other things besides wildland
    fires, such as USAR, it was a type 1 Incident Mangement team that
    handled part of the logistics for the WTC incident.

    Rather that complain about the system, a system that works well, get
    the training, get on the list, come out west and play. And because
    the system works, we were able to send personnel and equipment to Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas over the past years.

    I'll stop there for now... oh yea and contrary to popular belief
    the "entire" western US is not of fire, just a small portion that is
    attracting large amounts of media attention
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    Couple points and some random thoughts.

    Point 1)
    The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection staffs our federal mutual aid fire crews.

    Originally, these crews were all DEP employees, but as budget cut backs kicked in, by the early 90s the single crew left was almost entirely staffed by volunteers from outside of the DEP who signed up and completed their red card requirements in the spring for no pay. They did of course go paid once assigned to a federal job.

    Since then the crews have gone back to being a little bit more on the paid staff, but still rely on volunteers to fill it out.

    I guess that gives you a pretty good indication of the size our State's wildland fire resources when State Forestry doesn't have enough qualified employees to fill a 20 man hand crew.

    (I've known over the years half a dozen, probably close to ten as I continue to think, both DEP employees and volunteers who've served on the crews -- some years they go, some they don't.)

    Point 2)
    Connecticut's Fire service training for I/II/Instructor/Officer follows NFPA exactly and we participate both in NBFSPQ (National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications) and IFSAC (International Fire Service Accrediation Congress) so if another state participates in either system, your credentials are good here and vice versa, with maybe only one or two hoops to jump through

    Random Thoughts:
    So, someone comes to you and says they're a certified firefighter.

    You hand them an airpack, they go in the building and die. They were a certified firefighter -- they had they're red card for fighting wildland fires.

    I'd no sooner want to hand a wildland firefighter and airpack to go in a building than a structural firefighter a pulaski to go up a mountain.

    2 hours of humping an indian can around a hill is not experience relevant to needing someone to spend 2 weeks cutting fire line in mountains.

    We get "wildland" fires out here -- Connecticut averages less than two fires a year that consume 100 acres or more. The experience we get fighting primarily duff fires in hardwood forests don't translate well into fighting out west. Do we get major fires in New England? Yep, and next time we'll get our *** handed to us 'cause we forget about the forest fire danger in the fifty years between major fire seasons.

    You could line up engines pump-to-bumper in places like Show Low, and my guess is you wouldn't have the water supply for them to make a stop. When I traveled to California a few years back, one of the things that struck me was the lack of drafting locations in the hills -- no mill ponds, no streams every few miles, no kettle holes, no leaf-infested mud puddles, just the occasional small river far down a steep embankment. It's a different world from the mid Atlantic and New England area.

    For the number of structures threatened at any given moment and the water supply available, the Western States have enough structural engines to protect the buildings that can be protected. It's seldom a case of too few firefighting resources, but a lack of strategic items like building design and water supply that doom the homes.

    Wanna help? Get a red card that shows you have the specific training and physical conditioning needed to help. Unfortunately, that takes some planning so the time is before a current fire season.

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    Wink

    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    You could line up engines pump-to-bumper in places like Show Low, and my guess is you wouldn't have the water supply for them to make a stop
    That brings us to another problem we face in the field. Something that isn't taught in FF1...but learned through experience. Limited water sources! And seasoned wildland firefighters come to realize this lack of water supply and act accordingly.

    For example, if I show up on a wildland fire here in NJ...I'm limited to the 250 gallons in my tank. The municipal dept. shows up with multiple engines, some carrying 1000 gals. Wanna guess who controls just as much fire with less water?

    The application of agent for I/A should be just enough to knock down running fire and control it. We understand the limitations of our water supply and act accordingly. Therefore...that 250 gallons goes a long way.

    Please realize that this is not criticism of structural firefighters hoseline techniques. I'm just saying that we have become knowledgeable in how to make the best use of our limited water supply in the field.
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    Post FYI

    I'll throw this into the discussion:
    -------------------------------------------
    INFORMATION:
    Wednesday (6/26) some Colorado city firefighters took an intense, 30-hour course
    to get their "red cards" that certifies them to fight wild-land fires. The
    group of firefighters was the first class of graduates as part of an emergency
    effort to train new wild-land fire crews.

    The instruction was serious and very hands-on with the firefighters experiencing
    everything but real flames.

    One of the exercises for the city fire crews included digging a 3-foot wide fire
    line in the hot Colorado sun. The goal was for the firefighters to stay in
    single file 6 to 10-feet apart while digging the line down to mineral soil.
    Instructors say it takes experience to do it, something the city firefighters
    expect to get of a lot of this summer.

    The fire crews also practiced using fire shelters.

    In all, 160 firefighters in the Denver area signed up for the training.
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    Default Training

    Thank you for all the comments. My purpose in posting my views was to stimulate discussion and thats what happened. For the record, I currently hold National Pro Board certificates for Fire Officer IV, Instructor III, Wildland Firefighter I, among others. My experience covers 44 years as both a career and volunteer firefighter and officer and a couple of years of that was with Maryland's forest service. God Bless and stay safe.

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    Default Re: Training

    Originally posted by h woods
    My purpose in posting my views was to stimulate discussion and thats what happened.
    Thanks for prompting us! CBP3 is a Division Officer with NJ Forest Fire and I am an engine boss in another Division of NJ Forest Fire. I can't speak for his length of service...but I started on the line in late 1970.

    I wish there were more wildland members participating here...it seems that only a handful actually post.

    Still, we've had some good exchanges....and that's what these forums are all about!
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    Default Interesting Follow-up to the Discussion

    http://safenet.nifc.gov/safenet.nsf/...5?OpenDocument


    SAFENET
    Wildland Fire Safety & Health Network
    Report unsafe situations in wildland and prescribed fire operations.
    Fields marked with are required.

    REPORTED BY

    Name : (Optional)
    Phone : (Optional)

    EMail : (Optional)
    Date Reported :
    06/30/2002

    Agency/Organization:
    Other



    EVENT

    Event Date :
    (Format MM/DD/YY)
    06/09/2002
    Local Time :
    (Format 03:00 PM)


    Incident Name :
    HAYMAN

    Incident Number :


    State :
    CO



    Jurisdiction :
    USFS

    Local Unit :
    PSF
    Incident Type : Incident Activity : Stage of Incident :
    Wildland Fireline Extended Attack, Transition/Transfer of Command

    Position Title :
    Firefighter

    Task :
    Structure Protection

    Management Level :
    1

    Resources Involved :
    Engine Task Forces

    SAFETY/HEALTH ISSUE
    Brief description of concern/condition or potential issue:



    Untrained and unqualified firefighters assembled into Type 1 Engine Task Forces. Placed at the head of the Hayman Fire for structure protection. Not in communication with actual ICP. Leaders not qualified, some without even S-130/190 (Training courses).

    CONTRIBUTING FACTORS
    Communications, Situational Awareness, Other Human Factors



    EGO. These teams were put together by individuals that have no business dealing with wildfires. One individual who took charge is from the mid-west and has no wildfire training and no real experience with our fuel types. But because he has a white shirt and a gold badge he feels he needs to run the world.

    ENVIRONMENT
    Describe: (Weather, Fire Behavior, Fuels, Terrain, Footing, Road Conditions, etc.)


    Weather was hot and dry. Fire behavior was extreme with crown runs and long range spotting. Fire made a 19 mile run in one day. Terrain was steep and in some areas very difficult for foot travel. The largest road is a 2 lane paved road that winds along the Platte river, most other roads are dirt and provide minimal clearance.

    NARRATIVE
    Describe in detail what happened and the resulting safety/health issues:



    XX County placed several Engine Task forces into service for this fire. They did not coordinate with the incident ICP and were not ordered through the system. Many of these engines were Type 1's from urban areas and as such lacked the proper wildfire equipment. For many of these firefighters this was their first wildfire. Many firefighters lacked wildfire PPE and S-130/190 training (few red-carded persons). One of the Task Forces was led by a Division Chief with minimal experience and questionable qualifications. These people were placed at the head of a rapidly developing wildfire for structure protection. When an appropriately qualified Engine Strike Team was finally mobilized the ST Leader requested that the XX County E.O.C. replace the unqualified persons on the line with appropriately carded firefighters. Initially this request was denied. Only through constant hounding of those in charge by those actually qualified was this accomplished. Eventually when the Type 1 IMT for the North end took command these TF/ST were demobed.

    SITUATION REVIEW
    Reporting Individual: please list anything that, if changed, would prevent this safety issue in the future:


    The people in charge should have delegated responsiblitiy to more qualified individuals. The resources that were used should have been ordered or at least checked-in with the ICP.

    CORRECTIVE ACTION
    What do you suggest to ensure this does not happen again?


    Ego's need to be checked at the door! XX County needs to ensure that resources sent to Federal fire meet NWCG standards. The USFS needs to be firm about freelancing and should have a long talk with those involved in this incident. This has happened many times before in our area, and will happen again unless the Federal Government steps in provides punishment for these actions.


    Corrective action taken by :


    Date :


    Originator notified by :


    Date :





    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SAFENET - 5BLP3GSAFE
    . . Supplemental Corrective Action - 5BRN5LSAFE
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "" Identifies which document you are currently reading.


    Document ID# 5BLP3GSAFE
    Last edited by mtnfireguy; 07-12-2002 at 05:08 PM.
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