Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Duty, Respect & Integrity in the Classroom

National Wildland Fire Training logo
(Photo credit: National Wildland Fire Training)
With fire season and the holiday season behind us, wildland fire training centers are gearing up in every geographic area to begin training season. Thousands of our fire and aviation management employees will participate in some form of formal training session in the next several months. The quality of our training depends largely on the commitment to support training at all levels of the wildland fire community. Everyone has something to contribute to the success of training. Whether you are serving on a cadre or as a student, be present and professional every time you are in the classroom. The result will be a more interactive and comprehensive learning environment. Our culture thrives on storytelling and learning from each other. Full participation and dedication in the classroom is one of the best opportunities to facilitate this learning process. 

Fire managers and agency administrators play a key role in the success of our wildland fire training programs as well. With tight budgets, travel restrictions and tough decisions to be made for funding priorities, support for training is one of the first things that faces cuts. By eliminating training one year, we create a gap in experience and positions to support fire management activities on the local unit as well as geographically and nationally that can reverberate for years after. We may inadvertently hold employees back from advancing to the next logical position and may lose opportunities into the next year as well because not all courses are held every year. Restricting training due to budgets or other limitations should be done on a case-by-case basis rather than applying an across the board restriction in order to ensure that we are building our programs for the future.

About the Author:
Kelly Woods is the Great Basin Training Unit Leader and an advisor on the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee. The expressions are those of the author.

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