10 Standard Firefighting Orders, PMS 110

The 10 Standard Firefighting Orders and the 18 Watch Out Situations, as referenced in the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461, provide wildland firefighters with a set of consistent best practices and a series of scenarios to be mindful of when responding to a wildland fire.

The 10 Standard Firefighting Orders are organized in a deliberate and sequential way to be implemented systematically and applied to all fire situations.

The 18 Watch Out Situations are more specific and cautionary, describing situations that expand the 10 Standard Firefighting Orders with the intent that if firefighters follow the Standard Firefighting Orders and are alerted to the 18 Watch Out Situations, much of the risk of firefighting can be reduced.

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1. Keep informed on fire weather conditions and forecasts. A firefighter talks into the radio as he stands near remote weather equipment. Smoke and flame are visible in the distance.

1. Keep informed on fire weather conditions and forecasts.

Weather conditions can significantly impact fire behavior, and weather forecasts help firefighters anticipate changes. This Standard Firefighting Order shows a remote automated weather station (RAWS) which sends real-time weather information to incident fire personnel.

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2. Know what your fire is doing at all times. A firefighter, wearing a pack and holding a tool, stands on a ridge while talking into a radio. On the left hillside, several firefighters are digging on a spot fire. On the right, the main fire is burning uphill. A helicopter is also flying over the fire.

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

Current and accurate information about fire behavior and weather conditions is critical to firefighter safety. This Standard Firefighting Order demonstrates how lookouts are used to gather and communicate details on fire behavior.

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3. Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the fire. A firefighter looks at his watch, which reads 2 PM, while a fire actively grows in steep terrain and heavy timber.

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

Fire managers make decisions throughout the day on how to suppress fires and best use resources while protecting life and property. This Standard Firefighting Order depicts a firefighter observing increased fire behavior during a time of day when temperatures are high and relative humidity is low.

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4. Identify escape routes and safety zones, and make them known. A fire crew is walking through a meadow on a path lined with pink flagging. Behind them, a fire is growing in heavy timber.

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

Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones (LCES) are the foundation to safe fire suppression actions. This Standard Firefighting Order shows a crew utilizing a predesignated escape route to safely move away from an active fire.

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5. Post lookouts when there is possible danger. A firefighter works by a water pump in a creek. Two firefighters spray water onto flames. And another firefighter talks into a radio while observing all firefighters.

5. Post lookouts when there is possible danger.

Lookouts provide time-sensitive information to firefighters. This Standard Firefighting Order demonstrates firefighters installing a pump and hose lay with a designated lookout to keep watch for and communicate possible hazards.

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6. Be alert. Keep calm. Think clearly. Act decisively. On the left side of a split screen, four firefighters stand near a wildland fire, listening to a radio in the hands of one. On the right side of the screen, a supervisory firefighter talks into a handheld radio.

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

Remaining alert, keeping calm, thinking clearly, and acting decisively are important components of decision-making on wildland fire incidents. This Standard Firefighting Order illustrates a supervisor providing direction and establishing leader's intent to help a crew working on a growing fire.

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7. Maintain prompt communications with your forces, your supervisor, and adjoining forces. A bulldozer is on one side of a fire burning in palmetto, and a fire engine and water tender are on the other. A supervisory firefighter is in the middle talking into the radio and gesturing to the bulldozer.

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

The Incident Command System (ICS) relies on interagency communications between firefighting resources for collaborative fire suppression. This Standard Firefighting Order shows a variety of firefighting resources working together to effectively suppress a wildland fire.

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8. Give clear instructions and be sure they are understood. About 20 firefighters stand in a semi-circle in front of two crew buggies where a map has been put up. A supervisory firefighter points at the map and speaks to the group.

8. Give clear instructions and be sure they are understood.

Briefings are opportunities to share information, plan tactics, and ask questions. This Standard Firefighting Order illustrates a briefing from a supervisor to the personnel working on the fireline.

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9. Maintain control of your forces at all times. A crew boss is gesturing to a wildland fire crew walking along a path away from a fire burning in grass and cacti. A Single-Engine Airtanker (SEAT) is flying over dropping red retardant on the flames.

9. Maintain control of your forces at all times.

Building and maintaining crew cohesion promotes trust among crew members and leadership. This Standard Firefighting Order demonstrates a crew following direction from their supervisor to avoid hazards, including the approaching airtanker.

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10. Fight fire aggressively, having provided for safety first. A green fire engine is driving through thick grass and sage. Three firefighters are spraying water at a fire's edge. Along a road in the foreground, pink flagging is tied to brush to indicate an escape route.

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

The safety of firefighters and the public is always the top priority of wildland fire management agencies. This Standard Firefighting Order portrays an engine crew, with a clearly identified escape route in place, suppressing an active wildland fire .

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Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
2020-07-22