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North Zone Readiness Review a success:'we train together to respond together'

A crewmember creates an incident within an incident during a simulated fire shelter deployment on the North Kaibab readiness review training May 12. Photo/David Hercher, KNF

A crewmember creates an incident within an incident during a simulated fire shelter deployment on the North Kaibab readiness review training May 12. Photo/David Hercher, KNF

FREDONIA, Ariz. - Wildland firefighters from the Kaibab National Forest, Color Country Bureau of Land Management and Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) conducted annual readiness review training May 12 for the North Kaibab Ranger District.

Six engine crews, three fire lookouts, a three-member fuels crew, three fire prevention specialists, four members of the GCNP Helitack crew, four resource specialists from the Kaibab National Forest, fire leadership from both the Kaibab National Forest and GCNP, and law enforcement personnel from the park took part in the training.

Prior to the day's training, participants discussed the intent and expectations of the exercise.

"Today we are here to take the time to build our team before we engage, to remember our fireline leadership core values: duty, integrity, respect," said Jay Lusher, chief of Fire and Aviation at GCNP.

Participants rotated through a variety of stations working on a simulated wildfire, hoselays, water pumping, fire shelter deployment, medical emergency treatment and transport, tactical decision making, fire prevention and education, coordinating with fire lookouts and working alongside the North Zone dozer operator during wildfire operations.

"Fires eventually will go out, trees will grow back, and homes can be rebuilt, but at the end of the day we want everyone to make it back home safely," said Drew Leiendecker, fuels specialist for Kaibab National Forest.

Both Leiendecker and Lusher reiterated the wildland firefighting community's Life First leader's intent - to remind all wildland firefighters to commit to Stop (assess the situation), Think (critically about what is going on) Talk (about what you see), and Listen (to what is being said and what your gut is telling you), before they Act (providing a level of risk management before blindly charging in as if it is just another routine task, assignment, or mission) in order to help eliminate unnecessary exposure and increase the odds that everyone goes home.

Closing out the day's training, participants conducted an after action review and provided fire managers with feedback on the day's successes and improvements for next season.

"The day was a success. Our firefighters demonstrated that they're ready for the 2016 fire season. We will continue to focus on the basics, build on our strengths, and constantly seek opportunities to improve," said Dave Robinson fuels specialist for the North Zone. "Thank you to everyone who helped make the day a success, and remember to seek training opportunities, ask questions, and learn from each other daily."

More information on current Kaibab National Forest wildfires and notifications of upcoming prescribed burns are available from the Fire Information Recorded Hotline (928) 635-8311 or on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KaibabNF, by texting 'follow kaibabnf' to 40404 or at the Kaibab website under News & Events at www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab.

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