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  • Writer's pictureJOY A COLLURA

Part Two - Was the NWCG 2020 entrapment avoidance lesson to vindicate the SAIT-SAIR conclusion?

Author: Joy A. Collura

Views expressed to "the public at largeand "of public concern"

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I just read the contributing author's post and I felt I should do my own on the topic of "Fire Shelters"

Subject: My Reply to 6-Minutes For Safety & Douglas Fir's New Article on this website.

The pen behind that article needs no introduction at all yet I know he has a passion for truth and a calling by God that most could never comprehend the depth of.

Too many Sport aficionados can remember sport statistics of their favorite teams and players - 100s and 100s of names and numbers, and so on; yet every year passes as I am "newly" training in the Wildland Fire Industry and they are focused on "memorization" to gain the certificate. And so they really have not a clue to knowing and following the Ten Standard Fire Orders and knowing, recognizing, and mitigating the Watch Out Situations. I understand that part strongly and support Bob Powers and Fred J Schoeffler on that topic.

Instructors, teachers, and educators should avoid using words like "luck" or any word to fit an agenda. I think we really should spend more time "role-playing" with rookies scenarios because historically from the simple, legible older Investigation Reports to the complex chaotic ones of today. What lacks out there is the "straight talk" with Wildland Firefighters (WF) and Firefighters (FF).

How many really-and-truly practice scenarios of fire shelters throughout the year? Or how many dread the one time they have to do it annually for the required refresher? I rarely see the importance shown on Refresher trainings. I mean, really - on your Physical Training ( PT ) days out of the blue say "deploy" your shelter and on PT days have a dummy shelter planted in one of the IA gear and really practice those moments. How many on field PT trainings actually discuss / evaluate, and point out potential Escape Routes and Safety Zones. Or even on each fire? Who on your Crew identifies over and over, and takes serious notice of possible shelter deployment sites?

It makes no difference if you are a rookie or decades in the Wildfire Industry - it should be discussed. In addition, I believe it should be optional and a personal / professional choice whether to carry a Fire Shelter. I spent many years listening to the words of Dr. Ted Putnam. Good man. I have the most trust and faith to talk "real" about Wildland Fire and he listens and he waits and then he responds.

Safety wise- you do not need to carry a shelter - however - I think the way they teach now - almost "dummified" - they do need "fire shelters" now more than ever if they have no intention to being mindful and meditate and give more accountability to management when errs occur.

Ted Putnam - '[wa]s a fire and safety equipment specialist at the Missoula Technology and Development Center [MTDC]. He started working for the Forest Service in 1963 and spent 3 years on district fire crews, 8 years as an R-1 smokejumper, and 3 years as a supervisory smokejumper. In 1976 he came to MTDC. He is responsible for developing firefighter’s protective clothing and fire shelters, including training materials. He is[may still be] a member of two National Fire Protection Association standards-setting committees for protective clothing and equipment. Ted holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Montana.' Most importantly, he took the high ground and did the difficult right thing when he refused to sign off on the 1994 South Canyon Fire Serious Accident Investigation Report (SAIR) because it was a cover-up and a whitewash.

Leaders or "alleged" Leader(s) who espouse and posit that the Standard Orders are a fallacy - are part of the Systematic concerns regarding "incomplete" lessons being taught.. Especially the ones who claim participation over all these decades of Wildland Fire Fatalities as "supposed" Investigators. I am training to be "the eyes in the sky" for a reason. I want to show the world some of the foolish tools and talks that are "going viral" electronically in hopes to do my part to cease the nonsense. As I listen to some leaders, they like to make you "think"that if you are perfect then you will see that guarantee of entrapment avoidance. Jesus is perfect - none of us are. Perfection is impossible and totally unnecessary because all you need to do is apply the wildland firefighting rules to the best of your ability. The fire always signals its intentions.

Yes, humans make mistakes, yet too many like to brush them under a rug versus having "ownership" and accountability, and work them through to do the difficult right thing. Too many think it is as easy as this:

Humans make mistakes. Be mindful! Meditate!

I know the contributing author never had to use or deploy his fire shelter or anyone who worked with him or trained under him or trained further to be a Leader. They used the Standard Fire Orders. They work!

I also have probably reviewed more Freedom of Information Act - FOIAs and Public Records Requests -PRRs and I see merit raises on people / firefighters I know do not know the Wildland Fire Ten Standard Fire Orders and do not know, recognize, and mitigate the Watch Out Situations and they tell me they rely on their IRPG and Fire Shelters and their immediate Boss so somewhere we are teaching wrong and giving more money raises and it should be MANDATORY to know and follow the Wildland Fire Rules. The Entrapment Avoidance quotes from Jerry Williams were ideal to use in the article and hold true today. However, have they been discounted because of the YHF SAIT-SAIR?

Thank you for your article. I do believe in Fire Shelters. I will tell you I like all the people who have been a part of the Fire Shelter process. Some quality people there. If I became a person on the fireline, would I use one? No. I would be the best on the line that you never would think to peak in my pack because I believe it should be a personal / professional choice and the option of a waiver /liability signed if you do not carry one. If your Crew had to deploy and you opted out and shared one with another, you should be accountable to the one that you shared the shelter with or any injuries and fatality if you opted out.

God Bless.

I have the utmost respect for Dr Ted Putnam, Tony Petrilli, Ted Mason, Jim Roth, David Turbyfill, Darin Fisher and all currently working hard on Fire Shelters.


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