Videos for 2016 wildland firefighter refresher training

(Updated March 17, 2016)

There are 12 videos on YouTube that are described as being part of the Wildland Fire Refresher training for 2016. Most but not all have WFSTAR in the title (we left it out below), which stands for Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher.

We embedded 11 of them here. (Added another one at the top of the list below, March 17, 2016.) It’s possible that some of these will not be part of the 2016 refresher and that others will be added. We’ll modify this list as we hear about the changes.

*“Unmanned Aircraft Systems”

*”2015 Season Summary”

*“Situation Awareness”

* “Crew Boss (Historical Film re-edit)”. We can’t find a detailed description, but this 11-minute film appears to be a much-shortened version of two films made in the 1940s, “Crew Boss Part 1” and “Crew Boss Part 2” which combined were 35 minutes long. It’s fun seeing what firefighting was like 70 years ago. Check out the semi-portable radio carried on the Crew Boss’ back at 1:55. That’s also when he says, “Leave the headlights on the truck, Johnny, I don’t think we’ll need them.” It was similar thinking that resulted in the El Cariso Hot Shots not having their fire shelters with them when 12 were killed after being overrun by flames on the 1966 Loop Fire in southern California.

“Seahawks: Leadership Teamwork Communication”. The description from YouTube: “Looking for some fresh ideas on running a fire crew or any organization? We sat down with three Assistant Coaches of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and they shared with us Head Coach Pete Carroll’s successful philosophy on how to run a team.” This film has very high production values and makes you think about the similarities between coaching football players and coaching firefighters.

There are four videos about radios. It’s hard to believe that all four are intended for the refresher training, but on the other hand, communications is discussed as an issue in every fatality report that I remember reading. Using radios is of course a part of that, but not necessarily the actual use of the hardware. Usually it’s more related to human factors than the radios themselves. Initially early in the morning on the day of the accident there were some problems with incorrectly programmed radios on the Yarnell Hill Fire where 19 firefighters died.

“Radios of Fire”

“Tutorial: Programming the Bendix-King Mobile Radio”

*  “Tutorial: Programming the Bendix-King DPH Handheld Radio”

“Tutorial: Cloning the Bendix-King DPH Handheld Radio”

“Fire Indicators – Part 10 – The Cedar Fire”. First published in 2010.

“Fire Indicators – Part 11 – Back to the Cedar Fire”. First published in 2010.

The ninth video is titled “Latest Research on Estimating Safety Zones”, uploaded to YouTube July 1, 2015. We are not embedding it here because in 2014 three different variations of the guidelines were issued, so it became difficult to have 100 percent confidence that the “latest research” is actually the best advice for firefighters. You can view the July 1, 2015 version of the video here, but we make no claims that firefighters should stake their lives on this particular variant.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Videos for 2016 wildland firefighter refresher training”

  1. Bill,
    I have found that many more firefighters that one would think do not know how to effectively scan and use their priorities on handheld radios. Also, very few know how to hand program a radio either, but I am sure a frequency has never been changed or added mid-shift.

  2. Why no product suitable for refresher training on either Twisp River or Valley fires?
    I am aware of the reports produced on both, but by themselves are not easily used for either basic or refresher training.
    (I intend to use Twisp for S-290 case study by adding the Cliff Mass. wind analysis.)


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