Crew Cohesion by 0uzcB5pB


									 Crew Cohesion
Cohesion and Fire Crews—a Long
Standing Concern
Experts Who Have Studied Why People
Died Fighting Wildfires Have Long Noted a Connection
Between Fire Crew Cohesion And Fatalities. Let’s Look
at This Connection In the Context of Three Firefighting

 11/22/2011                                               1
             Part - Crew Cohesion at the
             Mann Gulch, South Canyon,
             and Thirtymile Fires

             • Intra-crew cohesion is the
               cohesion within a single crew
               fighting a fire.
             • Inter-crew cohesion refers to
               cohesion between different
               crews fighting the same fire as
               well as their cohesion with fire
11/22/2011                                        2
                   Part I— Crew Cohesion at
                   the Mann Gulch, South
                   Canyon & Thirtymile Fires

                Crews did not know each other very well
                 and where loosely coupled.
                On the South Canyon fire the three crews
                 working the fire did not have good inter-
                 crew cohesion.
                On the 30 Mile fire the two district crews
                 that made up the one crew did have good
11/22/2011       intra-crew cohesion.                       3
             Intracrew Cohesion
                Work and train together to develop a
                The smokejumpers on the Mann Gulch
                 fire rarely worked together and it was the
                 first fire for some.
                The Type II crew on the 30 Mile fire was
                 made up of two district crews to form one

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               Intercrew Cohesion

   Blending with other
    crews and within
    crew did not occur.
   Both the 30 Mile
    and South Canyon
    fires had no clear
    direction of Tactics
    or Chain of
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                A Definition
             When the word cohesion is used in relation to groups, people are
             describing how closely tied together they are as a group. But the
             meaning of cohesion extends far beyond this. People in cohesive
             groups speak openly of themselves as “a little family.” They often
             talk about their cohesion in spiritual and reverential ways.
             Members of military, sports, and work teams may use the word
             “cohesion” to describe a kind of intensified spiritual state of
             interpersonal connectedness or a special group “chemistry.” When
             people experience cohesion in the groups they belong to, they
             speak as if they have been blessed with a special kind of strength
             that enables them to overcome great obstacles. The special
             strength provided by cohesion has not gone unnoticed by

11/22/2011                                                                        6
             Suicide —The Problem
             of Cohesion in Modern
             Human Groups

                People belonging to groups with
                 low cohesion had higher suicide
                Low cohesion had higher suicide
                 rates than those who belonged to
                 highly cohesive groups. Groups
                 “without rules” fit into this category.   7
             Accidents and Cohesion in
             Forest Service Crews

                Crew cohesion is “made” by
                individual workers themselves
                when they establish
                agreements about the rules
                that govern a host of their day-
                to-day work practices.

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             Accidents and
             Cohesion in Forest
             Service Crews - 1

                Accidents in field crews were
                 inversely correlated with the
                 cohesion in the crews. In other
                 words, the greater the crew
                 cohesion, the fewer the

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                         Accidents and
                         Cohesion in Forest
                         Service Crews - 2
     Members of cohesive crews talk frankly with one another
     about their ongoing expectations.

             These expectations govern such things as:
                 work pace,
                 rest periods,
                 decision making,
                 humor,
                 warnings of danger,
                 requests for help,
                 assistance for fellow crewmembers,
                 complaints,
                 sharing food,
                 and other practical matters that bear directly on maintaining
11/22/2011        their cohesion.                                                 10
                 Accidents and
                 Cohesion in Forest
                 Service Crews - 3

      Cohesion, and the protection it affords
       individual workers, comes about only after
       crews have tested and negotiated acceptable
       norms governing their work practices.

      It takes time for this cohesion to develop. In
       studies, It takes from 6 to 8 weeks for
       individual seasonal workers to “click” into
11/22/2011                                              11
             Brainstorming Transition -
             What do each of the terms
             below mean to you as a fire
             fighter or fire crew supervisor
             in relationship to transition.
                Inter-crew
                Intra-crew
                Initial Attack
                Extended Attack
                Transition Phase
                Inter-agency
                Inter-regional
                Other

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                   Firefighter Fatalities
                   and Transition Fires
      Transition from an Initial Attack Incident to an Extended
      Attack Incident. Early recognition by the Initial Attack IC
      (Incident Commander) that the initial attack forces will
      not control a fire is important.
      As soon as the Initial Attack IC recognizes that
      additional resources are needed or knows additional
      forces are en-route, the IC may need to withdraw
      from direct fire line suppression and must prepare
      for the transition to the Extended Attack.

11/22/2011                                                          13
                 Firefighter Fatalities
                 and Transition Fires
      Initial attack fires can vary according to area.
      Some initial attack fires may consist of a single
      tree with some ground fire that can be handled by
      a single resource (engine crew or small

      Other initial attack fires can have complexity in
      place before anyone arrives on scene as is the
      case in most southern California areas.
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                 Firefighter Fatalities
                 and Transition Fires - cont

      Extended attack fires which occur when
      resources can’t handle the fire during initial
      attack can become dangerous because of the
      transition that occurs with the crews on scene
      having to fight the fire with other resources and
      agencies coming in (transition) and the length of
      shift that could occur.

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                   Firefighter Fatalities
                   and Transition Fires –
                   Transition Stage

      The “transition stage” is confusing because the fire
      community uses the word “transition” in two senses.

      First, transition refers to a time when a fire is changing
      from a small, type IV or V fire to a much larger type III

      In ordinary language, this means the fire has grown big.

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                  Firefighter Fatalities
                  and Transition Fires –
                  Transition Stage cont.

        Some fires grow big suddenly.

        Firefighters use different words to describe this
        moment: blowing up, taking off, losing control,
        or making a run.

        During transition, the fire has quickly expanded
        beyond the capacity of the resources that were
        initially assigned to control it.
11/22/2011                                                  17
                Transition and
                Fatalities – Transition

             The other dangerous phase of a wildfire
             is the “transition phase,” when the fire
             has escaped initial attack efforts and
             higher level incident management teams
             are being brought in.

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                Transition and
                Fatalities – Transition
                Phase – cont.

             During this phase some confusion may exist
             over areas of responsibility; Locations of
             different resources such as crews, engines, or
             line overhead; Or appropriate radio frequencies
             for tactical operations.

             This is often the time the fire is exceeding the
             capability of the initial attack.

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                   Transition and
                   Fatalities – Transition
                   Phase cont.
       Most of the burnover events occurred during
       the initial attack or extended initial-attack

       This is when the firefighters are often involved
       in independent action,
              eitheras members of a small crew,
              an engine,

              or even as individuals.

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                Transition and
                Fatalities – Transition
                Phase cont.
     The higher levels of incident management
     teams are not on the scene,
        communication may be confused,
        fire weather and behavior conditions may not be
         widely known or recognized,
        and the chain of command may not be well

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                         What This Means
             Poor inter-crew and intra-crew cohesion during the fire
             transition stage is a major factor in wildland fire
             fatalities. Cohesion problems that were quite different
             existed in crews on the Mann Gulch, South Canyon,
             and Thirtymile Fires.

             Because of the rapid growth of such fires and the
             associated transition of command, it is difficult for crew
             bosses to create the minimally required inter-crew
             cohesion before starting extended attack.

             Sociologists know from their studies that cohesive
             groups are safer than groups with little or no cohesion.
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                      Some Impressions of
                      Different Wildland Fire
                      Crews and Their Cohesion

         Type I Hotshot Crews - Interagency Hotshot Crew
         Operations Guide (Anon. 2001) These standards
         specify working and training requirements, experience
         levels, and the assignment of permanent supervisors.

         Because of these requirements, crewmembers are able
         to establish deep understandings of each other as
         people, work out their own internal division of labor, and
         learn ho to fight fire together as a tightly knit crew. In
         most instances, one would expect high cohesion in
         hotshot crews.
11/22/2011                                                        23

                Know and understand strengths and
                 weaknesses between crew members and
                Work, train and do things together to help
                 develop a bond with each other.
                Learn how to identify the lack of cohesiveness
                 amongst resources we are working with on
                 incidents and provide assistance as needed.
                Be conscientious of the transition period of fires
                 and know the difference between initial attack
                 to extended attack and management transition.
11/22/2011                                                       24
                 Exercise 1 – Transition
                 recognition and readiness:

    Your a crew member on a fire crew en-route to initial
    attack a fast moving brush fire in Southern California.

    While sitting in the back of the vehicle you’ve been
    listening to the radio and it sounds like the fire is getting
    away from the units on scene.

    What kind of transition is occurring and what can you
    prepare yourself and crew members for before you arrive
    on scene?
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                    Exercise 2 – Inter-crew
     You’re a crew supervisor of a Type I hand crew that’s currently on
     assignment in Arizona.

     The assignment for the day is to work on Division B and prep the
     division for a possible firing operation. Other resources on the division
     are a Strike Team of Type IV Engines, 3 dozers, 3 felling crews, 2
     Type II hand crews, 2 field observers and a safety officer.

     The dozers have a DOZB except for one dozer, the felling crews have
     a felling boss but exhibits very little experience

     What things can you do to help complete the operation safely using
     your crew?
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             Exercise 3 – Crew

              You just received a call from the Battalion to
              have you go to a station on the district and
              cover for the day and run the engine crew.

              What kind of cohesion issues will you have
              and how will you address them?

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             Exercise 4 – Cohesion:

             Come up with exercises to meet the audience

                   STL (crew, engine, dozer)
                   TFL
                   ICT3
                   Ops
                   Other

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                     Inter-Agency Cohesion

   In present day situations, new cooperation agreements, team assignments
   and all risk becoming a part of our future, what are we doing to address
   cohesion between agencies and all risk assignments?

   Something to think about:

   A typical first alarm fire on the Angeles response with LA County mutual aid
   will consist of 2-3 hand crews, 5 engines, 1-2 air tankers, 2 helicopters
   (medium and heavy), 1 dozer, 1-2 water tenders, a patrol and 2 chief officers.
   The county will send just about the same response.

   If the fire escapes the initial attack forces then the response will double.

   What cohesion factors are involved and how is transition identified and

11/22/2011                                                                          29

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