TEN FIRE FIGHTING SAFETY ORDERS
Fight fire aggressively but provide for safety first.
The fire-fighter is always aggressive in the fire fight, but keeps safety paramount. Don't let the desire to put the fire out overpower your common sense.
Initiate all actions based on current and expected fire behaviour.
To be successful in your fire fighting efforts, use your knowledge of fire behaviour to help you predict where the fire is going and how fast. Implement strategies and tactics that will allow you to beat the fire to where it is going. Always monitor the fire behaviour.
Recognize current weather conditions and obtain forecasts.
The weather is what is going to make or break you in your fire fight. Ask for up-to-date forecasts. You cannot predict fire behaviour without knowing the predicted weather.
Ensure instructions are given and understood.
If you don't know what the plan is, you could be in for some real surprises. Ensure that your supervisor tells you the plan. If you are giving instructions, insist that your subordinates read them back to you. This way you can be assured that they know and understand them.
Obtain current information on fire status.
Know what the fire is doing. Is it "running hard" and spotting; are houses being threatened; are there other fires in the area? All are important. They let you know what is happening and what you may expect.
Remain in communication with crewmembers, your supervisor, and adjoining forces.
Communication is very important. It will be your link to any changes in conditions. It also allows you to tell people of your status and the fire behaviour in your area. Keep informed and update those around you on a regular basis. Face-to-face communications are the surest.
Determine safety zones and escape routes.
You may have to establish safety zones as you construct a fire line. If this isn't necessary, always know where you are in relation to the designated safety zones. Discuss this with your supervisor and crew. Everyone must know where the areas are and how to get there. The escape routes must be easily travelled and take you away from the fire.
Establish lookouts in potentially hazardous situations.
Lookouts are your eyes and ears. Their purpose is to detect danger, understand the magnitude of the danger, and warn those in the area of the danger. This is not a job for the rookie on the crew. Lookouts have to know what they are seeing and what to do. You must also have reliable communications with the lookout. It does no good to have the lookout have critical information but be unable to pass it on in a timely manner.
Retain control at all times.
By knowing what is happening around you, you will remain in control. If others depend on you, assure them that you know what you are doing, and that they should follow your instructions. If you maintain control of yourself and those around you, you will decrease the chance of an accident.
Stay alert, keep calm, think clearly, act decisively.
Panic will make a tricky situation dangerous. Stay calm. Keep your wits about you. THINK!
'Look up, Look down, Look around and Stay alive'
(Thanks ERIC KURTZ - Montana DNRC)