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Thursday, August 23, 2012

6 Minutes for Safety: HAZARD MITIGATION THROUGH RISK MANAGEMENT


“Risk Management doesn’t get in the way of doing the mission – it is the way we do the 
mission.”
 The Risk Management Process assists in ensuring that critical factors and risks of
the fireline work environment are considered during decision making. Good risk
management utilizes a five-step process:
Firefighters drop a burning snag along the Lassen Volcanic National Park road. 8-2012
Firefighters drop a burning snag along the Lassen Volcanic National Park road.
Credit: NPS  
Step 1 — Situational Awareness:
  • Obtain information.
  • Scout the fire.
  • Identify hazards—those likely to result in a negative impact.
  • Consider all aspects of current and future situations.
  • Consider known historical problem areas (Apply information from the Fire Danger Pocket Card.).
  • Recognize the need for action.
  • Demonstrate ongoing awareness of fire assignment status.
  • Note deviations.
  • Attempt to determine why discrepancies exist with information before proceeding.
Step 2 — Hazard Assessment:
  • Assess hazards to determine risks (e.g., fire behavior, snags, unburned fuels, work/rest).
  • Use the Look Up, Down, and Around; and the Tactical Watch Outs (both located in the Incident Response Pocket Guide) to identify high-risk tactical hazards.
  • Assess the impact of each hazard in terms of potential loss, cost, and mission/operational degradation based on probability and severity (probability — how likely an event will occur; severity — consequences if the event occurs). Keep in mind that increased exposure time increases probability.
Step 3 — Hazard Control:
  • Determine the best approach to mitigate or control the risk from the hazards assessed.  
  • Establish controls (e.g., anchor point, LCES, utilize downhill checklist, limit exposure time).  
  • As control measures are developed, reevaluate each risk until it is reduced to a level where benefits outweigh potential costs.  
Step 4 — Decision Point (decision to accept or not accept the risk(s) associated with an 
action):
  • Consider whether controls are in place for identified hazards, whether selected tactics are based on expected fire behavior and if instructions have been given and understood. 
  • Make certain the decision is made at the appropriate level; if not, then elevate to a higher level.
  • Reject the action if the risk is unacceptable.  
Step 5—Evaluation: 
  •  Ensure controls are implemented and accomplished to standards.  
  • Supervise/evaluate effectiveness of controls and decisions. Stay on top of the situation and adjust risk controls as necessary.  
  • Anticipate consequences of decisions; if controls do not work, determine problem and derive a better solution.  
  • Adjust actions as the situation changes; maintain situational awareness at all times.  
  • Maintain feedback line.  
References: 
Incident Response Pocket Guide page 1
NWCG Human Factors on the Fireline Training (L-180)  
Safety and Occupational Health Manual Handbook, BLM-1112-1
6 Minutes for Safety Home - Link
• 10 Standard Fire Orders • 18 Watch-outs • LCES •   

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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