Monday, June 4, 2012

"The Merits of Risk"

"Trust, but verify." ~ President Ronald Reagan
The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), a provider for our L-380 course, released its videos from their 2012 Faculty Summit. "The Merits of Risk" by keynote speaker Christopher Barnes is highly applicable and transferable to wildland firefighting training.

Paraphrased Highlights from "The Merits of Risk"
  • We need to teach more than the soft skills.
  • We need to provide the experiences that indoctrinate our students with the will and tenacity to overcome.
  • We are part of the solution. Now more than ever, the world needs what we have to offer.
  • Industry challenges:
    1. Typically, when we manage risk, we strive to use prevention as a primary methodology. Risk is pointless without benefit. Prevention isn't enough.
    2. We often advocate for risk as a reactive response. 
  • Safety doesn't have a place where we are actively seeking risk.
  • Success without a legitimate threat of failure is illegitimate.
  • Set students up to succeed and fail in equal numbers.
  • Failure needs to be a clear and present danger.
  • Managing perception is a burden to bear.
  • "Advocating for prudent risk taking goes hand in hand with managing risk. Simply managing risk alone is of no value without considering what risks to take and why."
  • Real challenge leads to real experience and real experience leads to real learning.
  • Fear of failure inspires learning.
  • Improper allegiance to safety imperils learning.
  • "You don't get to competency by avoiding incompetency. You go through incompetency to get to competency."
  • Learning to manage risk is a life skill.
  • "We need risk because it's married to experience, and experience is the source from which all deep learnings spring."
Thoughts to Ponder
  • Have our safety policies, procedures, and equipment created a "safer" work environment? Do we rely too much on these items to keep us "safe"?
  • Are we a fire service focused on prevention or risk management?
  • Are there things that we should guarantee as safe?

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