Fight Fire Aggressively, But Provide for Safety First

Operational Engagement
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Jun 2020


Standard Fire Order #10 must be taken into account at all times when fighting fire. In order to fight fire safely and aggressively, every firefighter must be able to answer the following questions:

  • Is the suppression method adequate? Ask yourselves, are we making progress? Are we beating our heads against a wall? Is there a better way to get this done? Give examples when you have had to change your suppression method.
  • Are there adequate resources and time for effective suppression? Ask yourselves, do we need to retreat and reevaluate? Talk about times when you have realized you weren’t getting anywhere and needed to retreat and start managing firefighters and placing orders.
  • Are lookouts posted? Discuss when you post lookouts, who you would choose to be a lookout, and where they should be located.
  • Are communications prompt with crews and other resources? Review the importance of good communications on the fireline.
  • Have escape routes and safety zones been established? Talk about your crew’s procedure for establishing escape routes and safety zones. Review what constitutes an escape route and a safety zone.
  • Do you feel comfortable with your assignment? Discuss the situation check. Remind firefighters that every individual has the right to question an assignment.
  • To reduce the risks:
    • Post lookouts.
    • Retreat if the situation is too complex. Emphasize that safety is everyone’s responsibility; we all want to be good firefighters and being safe is part of that.
    • Do you have established trigger points?


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

Have an idea? Have feedback? Share it.

EMAIL | Facebook | URL:
MAIL: 6 Minutes for Safety Subcommittee • 3833 S. Development Ave • Boise, ID 83705 | FAX: 208-387-5378