Escape Routes 2

Operational Engagement
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Jun 2020


Continued from: Escape Routes 1 (Take 5@2)


Escape Routes are the path the firefighter takes from their current locations – when exposed to danger – to an area free from danger. Notice that escape routes is used instead of escape route(s). Unlike the other components, there always must be more than one escape route available to the firefighter.

Escape routes are probably the most elusive component of LCES. Their effectiveness changes continuously. As the firefighter works along the fire perimeter, fatigue and spatial separation increase the time required to reach the safety zone.

The most common escape route (or part of an escape route) is the fireline. On an indirect or parallel fireline, situations become compounded. Unless safety zones have been identified ahead, as well as behind, firefighters retreat may not be possible.

  • Have you ever timed an escape route? If not, how do you judge its effectiveness?  
  • Describe a time when you were uncomfortably distant from your escape route.
  • Describe a method you have used to communicate an escape route to your crews.


Also see: Escape Routes 3


Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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