Effective communication is a critical component of safe and successful operations.
Discuss the factors that can affect radio communication at the incident.
- Knowledge of the radio issued to the individuals.
- Net control, frequencies.
- Line-of-sight restrictions.
- Antenna polarization effect (direction of the antenna).
- Minimizing noise interference.
- Wide band vs. narrow band.
- Potentially unfamiliar local jargon (e.g., Coulee, candlestick, fence post, etc.).
How can you mitigate potential problems?
- Implement effective communication procedures—be brief, use clear text and to-the-point messages.
- Give a good comprehensive briefing. (Refer to the Briefing Checklist inside the back cover of the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461).
- Confirm that relayed information is received and understood.
- Keep a continuous information flow (e.g., updates on weather, fire behavior, work progress; changes in strategy/tactics; arrival of additional resources; and solicitation of feedback).
- Establish emergency check-in procedures.
- Provide a minimum of four radios per 20-person firefighter crew.
The Five Communication Responsibilities for all firefighters:
- Brief others as needed.
- Debrief your actions.
- Communicate hazards to others.
- Acknowledge messages.
- Ask if you don't know.
Page Last Modified / Reviewed:
- 10 & 18 Poster, PMS 110-18
- 10 Standard Firefighting Orders, PMS 110
- 18 Watch Out Situations, PMS 118
- Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
- NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
- NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
- RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
- Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
Have an idea or feedback?
Share it with the NWCG 6MFS Subcommittee.