An important aspect of safety is individual responsibility for one’s own health & safety. Even with the best supervision, each individual firefighter will occasionally be required to make personal decisions concerning their safety. It is important that individual responsibility be taught as the basis for a viable safety program. Some of those individual responsibilities are:
- Fitness for duty. Begin each work shift both mentally and physically prepared for the rigors of wildland firefighting. Getting adequate sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and proactively participating in physical training are the foundation of “My Safety.”
- Utilization of personal protective equipment. Wear your PPE without being told. Each individual is responsible for performing their own risk assessments. If a hazard is identified that can be mitigated by wearing a particular PPE component it should be utilized. Fireline supervisors have more important duties to focus on other than performing glove patrol.
- Following safe work practices. Using a spotter when backing up vehicles is the prudent and professional course of action. If you are unsure of how to perform a job task safely, ask your supervisor or experienced coworker.
- Using the correct reference materials is an important aspect of safety. You should have a working knowledge of the Interagency Standards for Fire & Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book), Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461, and your local operating guidelines.
- Ensure instructions are clearly understood. Communication is a basic responsibility for all fire personnel. Ask appropriate questions to clarify uncertain issues. Speak up when you observe hazards that may place yourself or others at risk.
- Maintain situational awareness at all times. Awareness is a vital component of “My Safety.” Pay attention to what is happening around your area of operations. Always display an awareness of what is happening around you by asking questions or making comments.
Do not expect someone else to be responsible for your safety. Take it upon yourself to make “My Safety” your number one priority.
- Talk about ways you can improve on your safety.
- Have your supervisor talk about their expectations for individual safety.
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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