Friday, January 10, 2014

"No Easy Day" for Alpine IHC

Alpine Interagency Hotshot Crew logo

Through their actions, ethics, and traditions the Alpine Hotshots exemplify the firefighter leadership core values of safety, duty, respect, integrity, and teamwork. ~ Alpine IHC Vision
Wildland firefighters are a humble group. We know you are doing great things to IGNITE the Spark for Leadership and look forward to sharing with you best practices in a new feature called "From the Field for the Field Fridays." With your help, we can show the cultural change and influence the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program has made throughout the wildland fire service and beyond.

We appreciate Paul Cerda and the Alpine Interagency Hotshot Crew for their willingness to provide snippets from their annual report for use on this blog. Our request is that other members of the wildland fire service submit their leadership development ideas and practices so others may benefit.

Leadership and Training

During the 2013 fire season, The Alpine IHC conducted a season long leadership training project that centered on the memoir of SEAL Team Six Member Mark Owen. The book and examples of life lessons during fundamental moments in time generated excellent discussion among the crew. Below is the outline of this leadership exercise.

No Easy Day

Task: All Alpine IHC personnel will read No Easy Day written by Mark Owen, in its entirety. Reading to be completed by May 21, 2013.
As you are reading, make notes on behaviors, actions and or emotions within the book that parallel the wildland fire “operators” environment. Once you have completed your reading assignment, revisit each chapter and make notes on your “lessons learned.”

Be prepared to discuss in depth your “lessons learned” in a group environment.
  • Subjects to focus on but are not limited to:
    • Duty, Respect, and Integrity
    • Team Work and Cohesion
    • Training and Lessons Learned
    • Fitness (Mental and Physical)
    • Balance of Life
    • Planning and Equipment
    • Attitude
    • Communication
    • Chain of Command
    • Situational Awareness
  • You will be called upon randomly after the date listed above to share to the group your individual lessons learned from your reading; also be prepared to discuss how you may have dealt with similar challenges.
  • Example 1: Balance of Life – The demands of your chosen profession may present some challenges this summer for you and your spouse. This is mentioned in the reading. How did that effect operations? How have others within your team dealt with this?
  • Example 2: Hurry Up and Wait – Why does this always happen? How do you personally deal with this as to not disrupt others with your frustrations?
  • Example 3: Management – Why can’t IMTs make a decision? How does that impact crews on the ground? How does one lead up to assist with the decision making process?
Purpose: The intent of the Alpine IHC Leadership Development Reading Program is to provide all staff regardless of career position with a greater depth and breadth of leadership development.

End State: Review the lessons learned from external organizations (military) and relate them to the wildland fire arena.

A special thank you to Jim McMahill, Chief of Fire and Aviation, NPS - Midwest Region, and NWCG Leadership Subcommittee agency representative, and the Alpine IHCs for this submission.

From the Field for the Field logo

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