Tactical Pause on Sept. 2 – Focus on Risk Management
Published: 9/01/2020
Author: National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group

NMAC Correspondence 2020-40

We are in the height of the 2020 Western fire season and we have been reminded that the wildland fire environment is dangerous whether you are on the ground or in the air. Along with the increase in fire activity, there has been an increase in close calls, serious accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Please honor those that have fallen, most recently our aviators, by actively managing risk. It is now the beginning of September and long-term fatigue is setting in, which exacerbates the complexity of a fire season made even more difficult by COVID-19.

We ask you to take a tactical pause at some point on Wednesday, September 2nd, to discuss current risks to which you are exposed. The timing and length of this tactical pause is at your discretion. During this time stop, think, and talk about how you assess and mitigate risk. Ask yourself, your coworkers, or your crew what, if anything, is different from your previous experience and how are you dealing with it? What is concerning you specifically when it comes to your safety and those you work with or lead? What might you be missing? It is all too easy to be task oriented so take this opportunity to discuss some simple reminders or measures you can take to reduce your exposure to the inherent hazards of our occupation or COVID-19, which can reduce the probability of the next accident or illness.  

Use references such as the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG) to aid you in your discussions. The latest interagency wildland fire COVID-19 information can be found on the Medical and Public Health Advisory Team (MPHAT) webpage. The value of this tactical pause will be in the discussions you engage in so make it count.

We also recommend that you review and discuss Planning for Medical Emergencies (page #2) and the Medical Incident Report (page #118-119), also referred to as the "8-Line", in your IRPG. Reviewing and discussing these job aids will better prepare you to respond to an accident or medical emergency if one does occur.

Finally, NMAC wants to be clear that we care about the health and welfare of our responders. We are asking you to take this time to discuss risk management and do everything possible to ensure you return home safely at the end of each shift and each fire assignment.

Joshua Simmons
NMAC Chair

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