a career firefighter, saw a “Buffelgrass” notice posted
on her unit’s fire information bulletin board. Intrigued
by the interesting botanical name - “Buffelgrass”
- Darcy read the information in the notice. What was serendipitous
and timely that day was not only Darcy’s personal interest
about the Buffelgrass fuel information, (where she learned about
its high flammability and extreme potential for erratic fire behavior
in severely dry locations), but also her ability to put this information
to later use when her need to call on “situational awareness”
and applied knowledge was critical.
weeks after reading about Buffelgrass, Darcy and her crew responded
to a wildland interface fire that flared up in a thickly populated
area of cured Buffelgrass. Remembering the information she gained
from the original notice enabled Darcy and her crew adequate time
to mitigate their tactics and back out of a potential blow-up
situation. Although none of Darcy’s crew was injured in
the sudden fire behavior Darcy did experience some minor burns.
As Darcy lay in the emergency room awaiting treatment, she reflected
back to the moment when she read the Buffelgrass notice and thought
about what could have been if she hadn't taken the time to read
to her local unit, Darcy and her crew completed an “After
Action Review”(AAR) of the incident and submitted a SAFENET
to the National Interagency Fire Center regarding the Buffelgrass
hazards. The intent for submitting the SAFENET, was to share information,
inform other firefighters about this volatile fuel and ultimately
to avert potential injuries to others. In turn, by submitting
this SAFENET a timely "Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory"
was disseminated nationally.
ARE POWERFUL TOOLS! The SAFENET system was created and
established during the 2000 fire season in response to a recommendation
from Phase III of the Wildland Fire Safety Awareness Study. A
SAFENET, provides front line wildland firefighters with a direct
avenue to report information and hazards, pursue unresolved issues,
identify mishaps or near misses and capture key opportunities
for organizational learning. Utilizing SAFENET is an opportunity.
when you file a SAFENET, please be sure to provide enough information
on the event – where it happened down to the local management
unit, resources involved, date and time, and so on – to
allow the agency to properly follow up on corrective actions.
a SAFENET is submitted to NIFC, it is forwarded to the agency
responsible for the incident or event in question.
your part – use this critical tool.
details on how to complete/submit a SAFENET visit the SAFENET
website at http://safenet.nifc.gov/
or by mailing in a SAFENET using the form below
Safenet Form: pdf file