Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Using Your Voice

"Every individual has the right and obligation to report safety problems and contribute ideas regarding their safety. Supervisors are expected to give these concerns and ideas serious consideration." (IRPG, p. 17)
In "Are You a Rebel or a Leader?" Nilofer Merchant blogs about a person's courage to raise tough issues. She writes of an organization that does not look down upon the person who rebels against the norm but instead institutes systems and rewards inside the organization that demands leadership from employees she refers to as protagonists--"principal champions of a cause or program or action."

According to Merchant, the protagonist "does not wait for permission to lead, innovate, or strategize. They do what is right for the firm, without regard to status. Their goal is to do what's good for the whole."

She contrasts this to the rebel who resists conformity.
  • To rebel is to push against something. To lead is to advocate for an idea.
  • To rebel is to say "heck no." To lead is to say "we will."
  • To rebel is to deny the authority of others. To lead is to invoke your own authority.
As wildland firefighters, we have a responsibility to communicate. The Incident Response Pocket Guide, p. ix, lists five communication responsibilities:
  • Brief others as needed.
  • Debrief your actions.
  • Communicate hazards to others.
  • Acknowledge messages.
  • Ask if you don't know.

Within LCES, firefighters should ensure the following:

  • Radio frequencies confirmed.
  • Backup procedures and check-in times established.
  • Provide updates on any situation change.
  • Sound alarm early, not late.
Most importantly, every wildland firefighter must know "How to Refuse Risk" which is found on page 17 of the IRPG.

Take the time to review these reponsibilities with your subordinates. The life you save may be your own.

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