WASHINGTON, D.C. – The USDA Forest Service is sharing A Guide for Firefighters and their Families as part of the Wildland Firefighter Week of Remembrance, which serves as an annual opportunity to renew our commitment to the safety of wildland firefighters as we remember those who have fallen in the line of duty.
The guide, which is a draft National Wildland Fire Coordinating Group publication, is designed provide honest information, resources and conversation regarding a career in federal fire response.
Previously, the Forest Service had created the Purple Ribbon Campaign: A Guide for Firefighters and Their Families. The Forest Service’s draft version of this guide was field tested in 2018 and feedback incorporated into the final document.
However, the value of an interagency document that provides candid information and resources to help wildland firefighters and their families understand risks of the job and plan for the unexpected outcomes made NWCG a natural fit for the guide.
As a living, online publication, A Guide for Firefighters and Their Families can be updated as new information and resources become available. Feedback is encouraged, sought and can be provided to the NWCG Risk Management Committee.
The guide provides information for families about the unique career of wildland firefighting, including irregular schedules and extended time away from home; an overview of the hazards and risks that come with the career: including long term impacts to physical and mental health, resources for support and tools for planning in the event of a serious injury or loss of life.
The guide cites information from established sources, professional organizations, and peer-reviewed publications. Additional agency-specific information that will be helpful for employees of the USDA Forest Service can be found in the Forest Service Death and Serious Injury Handbook.
NWCG’s Guide for Firefighters and Their Families will be beneficial and available to any agency employee who supports the emergency response function.