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Key Decision Log

Overview

In 2008-2009 Human Factors & Risk Management worked with National Fire and Aviation Management and the National Incident Management Organization teams to develop, test, and deliver the Key Decision Log (KDL). The conceptual foundation of the KDL rests on theories of organizational performance, safety, and organizational learning.

The Key Decision Log captures succinctly and efficiently, critical attributes of decisions taken to implement strategies outlined in the Wildland Fire Decision Support System: description and rationale; need for a decision; impact of the decision on safety; land health objectives, internal and external relationships, operational efficiency, duration, or size of incident; financial efficiency; scope of impact (local to international); and decision-makers.

Entries in the KDL are made by the Incident Commander or Agency Administrator as soon as practicable after a decision is made. The tool is being built as a central database accessible to all interagency fire management partners. Thus, the KDLs for a team, host unit or incident, reveal the mental models and critical thinking path that link strategic intent and actual outcomes. As such, it is invaluable in monitoring developing incidents, and in assessing and facilitating improvement in local and organization-wide performance. The KDLs can build an objective, organizational understanding of common decision traps and best practices. Another outcome of the KDL pilot has been to develop and test comprehensive performance measures for fire management.

The KDL was piloted in 2008 throughout the western US. A revised system was delivered through FAMWEB and used on Type 1 and Type 2 incidents managed by the US Forest Service in the western US in 2009. Presentations were requested at numerous Incident Management Team (IMT) meetings, and a General Technical Report was produced capturing and quantifying results at an organizational level. Additional performance measures to capture ecological and decision-making are also being developed.

Presentations to Management

Black, A.E. Key Decision Log. 2009. Joint Session with ICs, PSCs, LOFRs Northern Rockies Coordination Group/IMT meeting. April 7, 2009, Missoula, MT

Black, A.E. Key Decision Log. 2009. Local Fire Management Leadership, Northern Region.

Black, A.E. Key Decision Log. 2009. Regional Leadership Team and Fire Management Officers Meeting, Intermountain Region.

Black, A.E. Key Decision Log – “The Key Decision Log: developing and testing one aspect of a 'balanced scorecard' to facilitate continuous improvement in fire management – Progress 2009”. 1/12/2010, Boise, ID. Presentation to the four NIMO teams. Boise, ID

Black, A.E. “The Key Decision Log 2009”. National Area Command/Incident Command meeting 3/8-11/2010, San Diego, CA

Black, A.E. “Why a Key Decision Log”. CA Interagency IMT meeting, 3/30/2010, Reno NV - Incident Commanders

Black, A.E. “The Key Decision Log”. CA Interagency IMT meeting, 3/29-4/1/2010, Reno NV - Plans

Black, A.E. “The Key Decision Log 2010”. CA Interagency IMT meeting, 3/31/2010, Reno NV - General Session

Black, A.E. “The Key Decision Log 2009” Northern Rockies Geographic Area Type 2 and Wildland Fire Management Team meeting. 4/7/2010, Billings (General Session)

Conference Presentations

Black, A.E. 2010. Improving wildland fire management by understanding incremental decision-making. March 23, 2010; Rocky Mountain Research Station, All Scientists meeting, March 22-24, 2010, Fort Collins, CO.

Black, A.E. Gebert, K., Steelman, T., McCaffrey, S. 2009. 'Integrating understanding: how multiple perspectives enhance fire research'. The 4th International Fire Congress, December 3, 2009, Savannah, GA.

Black, A. E. 2009. "The Key Decision Log – developing and testing one aspect of a 'Balanced Scorecard' to facilitate continuous improvement in fire management". The 4th International Fire Congress, December 3, 2009, Savannah, GA.

Black, A.E., Steelman, T., Gebert, K., McCaffrey, S., and Canton-Thompson, J. 2009. Using multiple perspectives to understand changing federal wildland fire management. (poster) Joint Fire Science Program 10 year review, Nov 30 –Dec 4, 2009; Savannah, GA.

Black, A. E. 2010. Key Decisions in Incident Management: the IMT's perspective. 2nd International Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire conference, April 27-29, 2010; San Antonio, TX.

Black, A.E. 2010. Nurturing organizational self-awareness to support continuous improvement: the key decision log. 2nd International Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire conference, April 27-29, 2010; San Antonio, TX.

Publications

Black, A.E. 2009. The Key Decision Log: Facilitating high reliability and organizational learning. Fire Management Today 69(2) 5-10.