Firefighters code: What to do/What not to do

AP News
Posted: Jul 02, 2013 4:22 PM
Firefighters code: What to do/What not to do


Fire crews are drilled on ten Standard Firefighting Orders, developed by the U.S. Forest Service to reduce the risk of firefighting. When firefighters die, investigations have found these basic rules are often overlooked or broken:

1. Keep informed on fire weather conditions and forecasts.

2. Know what your fire is doing at all times.

3 .Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the fire.

4. Identify escape routes and safety zones and make them known.

5. Post lookouts when there is possible danger.

6. Be alert. Keep calm. Think clearly. Act decisively.

7. Maintain prompt communications with your forces, your supervisor, and adjoining forces.

8. Give clear instructions and insure they are understood.

9. Maintain control of your forces at all times.

10. Fight fire aggressively, having provided for safety first.



The Forest Service also developed 18 "Situations That Shout Watch Out," meant to warn firefighters of danger:

1. Fire not scouted and sized up.

2. In country not seen in daylight.

3. Safety zones and escape routes not identified.

4. Unfamiliar with weather and local factors influencing fire behavior.

5. Uninformed on strategy, tactics, and hazards.

6. Instructions and assignments not clear.

7. No communication link with crewmembers/supervisors.

8. Constructing line without safe anchor point.

9. Building fireline downhill with fire below.

10. Attempting frontal assault on fire.

11. Unburned fuel between you and the fire.

12. Cannot see main fire, not in contact with anyone who can.

13. On a hillside where rolling material can ignite fuel below.

14. Weather is getting hotter and drier.

15. Wind increases and/or changes direction.

16. Getting frequent spot fires across line.

17. Terrain and fuels make escape to safety zones difficult.

18. Taking a nap near the fire line.


Source: U.S. Forest Service, Fire and Aviation Management