SAFETY John De Leon The Nature Conservancy of TexasBurn Crew Managerjdeleon@tnc.org(361) 572-8711 (Phone) (361) 220-1205 (Mobile) (361) 572-8255 (Fax) Start yourself thinking about how to be safe when conducting prescribed fires. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENSEVERYONE GOES HOME AT THE END OF THE DAY
Be Constantly MindfulDon’t make assumptions • Do you have a good first-aide kit on-site, is it stocked and up to date • Is everyone participating on the burn capable? • Are there people present who should not be? • Does everyone know what the plan is and how it will be executed? Provide a briefing. • Obtain a weather forecast and pay particular attention to approaching fronts bringing changes in the wind, and thunderstorm probabilities. Give yourself a large buffer of time (8 or more hours) to complete your burn before the expected weather change • Is all the equipment functioning properly so it is safe? • Is the equipment left in good working order for the next burn?
Pay attention to, and seek out safety issues • Identify hazards inside and outside the unit before the burn, and make sure everyone is aware of them • Constantly watch for new hazards and point them out to others • Don’t just fix it, explore why it failed so it can be prevented in the future
Plan for the Unexpected • Have emergency contact information with you • Make sure there is at least one cell phone on the burn and it’s charged • Know the emergency contacts for everyone on the burn • Think about how you would direct emergency vehicles to your location. (having a GPS unit could help with this)
Be attentive to operations • Look for little problems that can add up to an unfortunate event • Create a checklist to make sure you have everything needed to complete the burn (go/no-go)
Cultivate resilience • Make a plan, stick to it, but don’t marry it. • Anticipate that there will be surprises and you will be in stressful situations. • Make a new plan and be sure everyone knows what it is • Picture how you will react to different problems ahead of time and plan for every conceivable event • Consider the options, seek input from others with a different perspective before making decisions • Stay calm, it will have that effect on others and help create a safe environment
Defer to Experience • None of us know it all • Identify those with experience and rely on their expertise • Seek help when you need it
GENERAL HAZARDS • Fireline equipment • Smoke • High temperature and humidity leading to heat exhaustion • Uneven terrain • High-tension transmission powerlines • Thorns and brush • Barbed wire fences • Poisonous snakes • Fire ants/stinging insects • Unfamiliar crews working together • Wet, boggy areas • Others…?
LCES • Lookouts • Communications • Escape Routes • Safety Zones
Lookouts • Can you see everything you need to, and/or are you in contact with a competent, trusted person who can? • Are you able to track everyone on the burn so everyone stays safe • Everyone is responsible for being a lookout for themselves and others • Is there anyone in the burn area who does not and shouldn’t be there?
Communications • Does everyone who needs a radio have one? • Have you checked before the burn to make sure the radios are functioning, everyone is on the correct frequency and knows how they work? • Keep radio communications short, to the point, and confirm that transmissions are understood. • Have at least one cell phone on the burn • Provide updates on any situation change • Sound the alarm early, not late • Give everyone a briefing on the operation before the burn • Conduct a debriefing and remember the Lessons Learned and use them at the next burn
Escape Routes • Always have an Escape Route(2 or more is better). • Mark them on maps of the unit • Make sure others know their routes • Scout routes before the burn to make sure they are passable for vehicles you are using • Should you flag the route(s) so yourself and others can find their way out? • Park vehicles appropriately to make the escape, and do not park them in a flammable area • Do not block roads - Make sure other vehicles can get past • Make sure keys are always in the ignition • Keep windows rolled up
Safety Zones • Your best is safety zone is always the black. • Constantly identify new safety zones and keep them within reach if needed • Nothing is burnable within a radius four times the expected flame length. • Take advantage of barriers that block radiant heat • Mark known Safety Zones on maps ahead of time
After the Burn, take time to discuss Lessons Learned • What went well • Remember to implement it on the next burn • What did not go well • How can we prevent that from happening again • How can we improve • Remember to remedy the problem before the next burn
RECOMMENDATIONS • Learn how to take weather readings • Attend First-Aid/CPR training • Take advantage of every training opportunity such as this workshop • Always use personal protective equipment. At minimum have: • Fire resistant clothing (do not wear anything synthetic) • Eye protection • Gloves • Boots • Interact with others to learn from their experiences, and share the lessons you have learned