1 April 2013
Give Clear Instructions and Be Sure They Are Understood
Wildland firefighters courageously face tremendous peril with each fire they extinguish. There have been many fatalities of good, hard workers who were just doing their job. Deaths can be averted however, if every member of every crew follows The Ten Standard Firefighting Orders and The Eighteen Watchout Situations. These two lists of commands and warnings were developed by a task force in nineteen fifty seven to prevent any casualties during fighting of wildland fires. They are modeled in part by general orders followed by the United States Armed Forces and the research of sixteen tragedy fires. If always followed correctly and memorized, danger can be avoided to a certain extent. Today I’m going to talk about Standard Firefighting Order number eight, “Give clear instructions and be sure they are understood.” In a position of power or leadership, there are several reasons why it is important to always give clear instructions and be sure they are understood such as: the prevention of injury, the prevention of death, productivity, ethics, accountability, general order, and even the common pride of fulfilling duty. At some point in his or her career, each fire fighter will eventually experience some role of leadership, whether that be an actual appointed position or a temporary need for initiative in the absence of a figure of guidance. It is important that they give clear instructions and be sure they are understood or they will most likely fail at the assignment they are supposed to carry out and could potentially cause chaos and loss. When instructions are given, they are to be followed by those given the orders unless they are too much of a risk. A subordinate can distinguish safe orders from the orders that pose too much of a threat and choose to refuse risk, but he or she must know exactly what the orders are first. If orders are vague or incorrect,...
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