In order to help wildland firefighters reduce health and safety risks while out on the fire line, a set of fundamental guidelines have been developed. These are known as the 10 Standard Firefighting Orders. They’ve been implemented by thousands of firefighters for over four decades as a consistent set of best practices.
The 10 standard orders are organized deliberately in accordance with their importance and logical sequence. They can be implemented systematically in all fire situations and should be reviewed during every shift. By following these guidelines, which help address early warning signs of hazards and locate emergency escape routes, wildland firefighters can work more safely in hazardous environments and many fire line casualties can be predicted and prevented.
As referenced in the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461, the 10 standard wildland firefighting orders are as follows:
- Keep informed on fire weather conditions and forecasts. Wildland firefighters should request and receive an adequate weather briefing in regards to the wind direction, current and predicted fire behavior, predicted humidity levels, and other relevant factors.
- Know what your fire is doing at all times. This step may include acquiring a map of the fire, which includes well-defined topography of the area, the direction of the spread of fire, and the type of fuels present.
- Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the fire. When making decisions on how to best suppress fires and use resources, consider the weather, fire status, and fire behavior addressed in the previous steps.
- Identify escape routes and safety zones and make them known. Safe fire suppression actions rely on an awareness of the direction, location, and size of escape routes and safety zones.
- Post lookouts when there is possible danger. Lookouts can provide life-saving information to firefighters in time-sensitive situations where a fire is located out of the line-of-sight or where there is extreme fire behavior.
- Be alert. In order to make optimal decisions, a high level of situational awareness is essential.
- Maintain prompt communications with your forces, your boss and adjoining forces. Relaying tactical decisions, maintaining interagency communications, and facilitating collaborative fire suppression is essential to effective emergency response.
- Give clear instructions and be sure they are understood. During briefings, share pertinent information, strategize tactics, and ask questions to ensure all instructions are understood.
- Maintain control of your forces at all times. Maintaining control of one’s forces typically requires building and promoting trust among crew members and leadership, as well as maintaining crew cohesion.
- Fight fire aggressively, having provided for safety first. Once the previous orders have been accounted for, it’s important to act aggressively. That being said, the safety of firefighters and the general public should always remain the number one priority.
In order to stay safe while on the fire line, it’s essential to have high quality gear and equipment. Recognizing this need, the Supply Cache provides a wide range of exceptional wildland firefighting supplies such as firefighter goggles, boots, fire line tools, fire shelters, and other essentials. To learn more about how our innovative products can help keep you and your crew safe, contact us today.