Olympic NF training

The Olympic National Forest routinely coordinates with East Jefferson County Fire Departments and Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for joint training exercises and cooperative meetings. The last county wide training day was in July of 2007, but joint meetings continue throughout the year. The East Jefferson County Fire Organization includes Port Townsend, Port Ludlow, Port Hadlock, Chimacum, Quilcene, and Brinnon. Training exercises use simulated all risk incidents, with a focus on wildland fire, to train all involved on how resources will respond and initiate action on such incidents. In an actual event, whether a wildland urban interface fire or some type of emergency response, resources have the training needed to work together effectively. The training develops a basis for communication and partnerships among the agencies as well as with the community. By working cooperatively these agencies have been able to respond safely and more efficiently to incidents.

Olympic NF training

The most recent training day involved a wildland urban interface scenario. It allowed the Forest and the County to simulate a response to a fire in a community that poses many issues when it comes to defense of homes. Since 2003, the project has been ongoing on the Olympic National Forest and in Jefferson County. Joint training has taken place in the past, and will continue in the future. At the minimum a yearly training day will occur, along with additional meetings, and classroom sessions. The training events allow all organizations to participate in scenarios in a controlled environment, and gain experience. For supervisors and experienced employees, there is the opportunity to use these training days as refreshers. These events help the agencies to discover any issues before problems arise in real-life incidents. Questions and suggestions are encouraged to make systems work more efficiently and effectively. Follow up meetings and classroom training are ways to maintain relationships throughout the year, and not just during fire season. Employees at all levels are involved in coordinating and developing joint training and exercises. This program has created a working relationship that benefits all involved including the public, and is an example of how to sustain interagency relationships into the future.

For more information, contact Tyler Bentley at (360)956-2390, or at tbentley@fs.fed.us.