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Firefighter Cohesion and Entrapment Avoidance Facilitator's Notes

Short Overview of Each Story

A brief synopsis of each story is included to help facilitators consider the stories they may want to use during their training.

Problem 1: Firefighters Not Getting Along

Story 1: Out To Compete With Everybody

This story from a hotshot superintendent discusses how he resolved a problem caused by a hotshot crew that was trying to show everybody else up.

Story 2: The Excitement Is Gone

In this story, a crew boss discusses two crewmembers who were complaining because they were bored while mopping up. The leader saw these two firefighters causing a cohesion problem.

Story 3: He Didn't Get To Be Crew Boss

This story is from a crew boss trainee who faced a cohesion problem caused by a jealous squad boss.

Problem 2: Working With Unfamiliar Resources

Story 1: Grab People Off Districts

In this story, a crew boss discusses when he put together a type II crew and built cohesion among firefighters who came from different districts.

Story 2: Resources I Hadn't Worked With Before

In this story, a strike team leader discusses how he built cohesion when he was assigned several engines he had never worked with before.

Story 3: Crew Straggling In

In this story, the incident commander of a type 4 fire discusses when he called for an additional crew to help fight the fire. He had to tie these new firefighters into an existing crew.

Story 4: They Welcomed Us In

In this story, a contract crew leader talks about not being given a chance to build cohesion with federal firefighters. He explains how a smokejumper in charge brought a federal crew and a contract crew together.

Problem 3: The Fire Gets Hot and Firefighters Get Nervous

Story 1: The Fire Was Really Picking Up

In this story, a crew boss discusses how he kept his crew cohesive when the fire picked up.

Story 2: We Had People in a Panic

In this story, a helibase manager discusses moving a large number of firefighters and equipment quickly and cohesively from a helispot that was threatened with a burnover.

Story 3: We Have Spots All Over the Place

In this story, a squad boss describes how he kept his squad together when a fire blew up.

Problem 4: Can't Trust Other Firefighters

Story 1: This Person Was Dangerous

In this story, a hotshot superintendent discusses a person on his crew he couldn't trust. The firefighter was too aggressive and didn't follow orders—posing a danger both to himself and to the crew.

Story 2: We Have Spot Fires Behind Us

In this story, a hotshot superintendent discusses his distrust of another crew because they weren't watching his crew's back.

Photo of a fire along a ridge and heavily forested area.

Problem 5: Resources Out of the Loop

Story 1: They Felt Isolated

In this story, a federal firefighter describes when he had to integrate a group of structural firefighters into the larger firefighting operation after they found themselves out of the loop.

Story 2: He Was Freelancing

In this story, a division supervisor discusses how she responded when a dozer operator was out of the loop and the fire was picking up.

Problem 6: Questioning Tactics

Story 1: We're Not Going

This story from a strike team leader discusses three type II crews who were working for her on a fire. One of the crew bosses refused to send his crew into an area he thought was dangerous and the strike team leader had to build cohesion with the crew boss.

Story 2: Should We Be Here?

In this story, a dozer boss discusses building cohesion with a dozer operator after the operator questioned whether it was safe to engage the fire.

Problem 7: Lacking Local Knowledge

Story 1: Out of Their Element

In this story, a leader discusses building cohesion with a hotshot crew that didn't have experience with range fires.

Story 2: You're on People's Turf

In this story, a leader who was assigned to be an IC in a part of the country where he didn't have experience explains how he integrated himself into the local resources to create cohesion.

Problem 8: Home Unit Loyalties and Cliques

Story 1: Best Friends

In this story, a crew boss discusses dealing with three best friends on his crew who were troublemakers causing cohesion problems.

Story 2: We Needed To Bring Them Together

In this story, a crew boss trainee discusses how he built a cohesive crew from several district crews that had their own leaders and unit loyalties.

Photo of a group of firefighters standing next to a firehose in a very smokey forested area.