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Equipment Operator Fire Safety &
Fire Attack Procedures
Lessons 16 - 20

Equipment Operator Wildfire Operations Awareness  
Fire Safety Awareness & Specific  Fire Attack Procedures Common in the Wildland Fire Environment



MODULE ONE - Basic Fire Suppression & Safety

MODULE TWO - Equipment Operator Fire Safety and Fire Attack Techniques

MODULE THREE - Fire Entrapment Avoidance & Safety

MODULE FOUR - Risk Management & The Human Factor

Equipment Operator Fire Safety &
Fire Attack Procedures
Module Two
Safe & Effective Equipment Operations in the Wildland Fire Environment

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DRAM Ventures Inc. /


    Chapter 4 
    Lessons 16 - 20

  • 16 - Pumps & Water Delivery Systems
  • 17 - Fuel Handling
  • 18 - Emergency Radio Procedures
  • 19 - L A A C E S
  • 20 - Miscellaneous Safety Concerns
  • W.H.M.I.S. (Workplace Hazardous Material Information System)
  • Heat Stress
  • Vehicles & Vehicle Fires (Watch the video)
  • Animals

  • Complete Course Table of Contents

Waterous Floto Fire Pump demonstration for S100A Annual Safety Refresher Course for Wildland Fire Fighters (Photo - Doug Richardson)

Lesson 16 - Pumps & Water Delivery Systems

Tank Truck / Water Tender drivers are certainly involved in pumping water.

There are some extra safety precautions when working around pumps.

  • Use hearing protection
  • Ensure the pump site is not near danger trees or snags
  • Ensure pump site is safe from falling rocks
  • If the pump or the hose lay are on a road, flag the road to warn traffic
  • Be cautious of a pump site beside a swift flowing river or deep lake
  • Be cautious of undercut river banks
  • Set your pump on a flat, fuel free area (no dry grasses, etc.)
  • Be clear on escape routes away from the pump location
  • Do not pick up a pump that has recently been running (hot muffler)
  • Wear goggles as the hose lines and fittings can burst

         Foam & other Retardants

        If foam (or other retardants) are being used in the     water delivery system - you must;

  • Ensure there is no spillage into any source of water.
  • Report any spills to your supervisor immediately. 
  • If you get foam in your eyes or on your skin, wash immediately with large amounts of clean water. 
  • Report such incidents to your supervisor and first aid attendant.


Lesson 17 - Fuel Handling

    When working with any fuel or other dangerous type of flammable material, exercise caution at all times.

    Never smoke near or have open flames near a fuel container.

    Do not spill fuel on your clothing.

    If you splash fuel into your eyes or on your skin, follow the same procedures as with Foam treatment above.

    If you spill fuel into a water system, follow similar procedures as with a Foam spillage.

    Always be specific when labeling containers (drums) of "waste" fuel. NEVER mix different types of fuel in "waste" drums.

Lesson 18 - Emergency Radio Communications

    If you have an extreme emergency where your or someone else’s life is in danger, ANDyou must use a 2 - way radio, you MUST:
    1. Turn on the radio and turn up the volume
    2. Do not change the channel
    3. Hold radio upright, push the transmit button, and speak slowly and clearly, “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday”
    4. State your name
    5. State your location
    6. State nature of emergency
    Keep your conversation to the point - this will save batteries

    If you do not receive a reply, move a few meters to a new location and try again. Even if you do not receive a reply, transmit your complete message as sometimes you are being heard but cannot hear back. Someone, even a passenger airliner far overhead may have heard your Mayday call and passed on your message to the proper authorities. As a final resort, note the original channel you are using and then carefully try different channels.

    When a Mayday call for help is received, ALL radio traffic except that of the assisting parties, must cease. You will only resume normal radio traffic when the Mayday is given the all clear.

    If your emergency is NOT life threatening, you may say “Pan, Pan, Pan” or more commonly, “I have an emergency and require assistance”. Follow the above mentioned procedures.

Lesson 19 - L. A. A. C. E. S.

Remember the safe work procedures of L. A. A. C. E. S.

    L - Lookouts. Post a lookout to observe the fire conditions.

    A - Anchor point. Start the fire guard (control line) from a safe area.
    A - Awareness (Situational) If you are clear on your "situational awareness and follow all safety procedures - you should be able to sleep in your bed at the end of your work shift.
    C - Communications. Maintain good communications at all times.
    E - Escape routes. Know where at least two escape routes are.
    S - Safe areas (zones.) Know where your safe areas are.

Lesson 20 - Miscellaneous Safety Concerns

W.H.M.I.S. Workplace Hazardous Material Information System

    This is regulated by a possible variety of government agencies or their representatives,  and it is mandatory (in Canada) that every worker must be trained in this system. It provides the worker with important information about hazardous material they may be working with at the work site. W.H.M.I.S. describes the hazards of materials used and tells the worker what safety precautions to take when using them. If a container has a
“hatched border” label (the colour does not matter)
    (gasoline and diesel should have such a "hatched" border label) you must read the label and follow instructions. The label will refer you to a M.S.D.S. (Material Safety Data Sheet) Your employer must have these sheets available for your access. Ask where they are located.

    This is not a W.H.M.I.S. course.

    Only your employer can give you current information regarding the dangerous material you may be using or are exposed to.

    You have a responsibility to ask questions regarding safety issues.

    Heat Stress

    Heat Stress is a serious situation and must be treated accordingly. Fire fighters are in a work environment that can increase this risk. Heat stress can quickly progress to a life-threatening situation.

    Some Personal pre-existing factors which may lead up to Heat Stress:

  • Poor physical fitness
  • Lack of acclimatizing to the local conditions
  • Overweight
  • Increased age (40 and up do not cope so well)
  • Pre-existing medical conditions and treatments
  • Short-term medical issues (i.e. cold, flu, 
  • diarrhoea)
  • Chronic skin disorders
  • Some medications (do not take aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as a cure)
  • Alcohol or recreational drugs
  • Previous heat stroke

    There are three levels of Heat Stress

    1. Heat Cramps
    2. Heat Exhaustion
    3. Heat Stroke


1. Heat Cramps

  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle cramping / pain

2. Heat Exhaustion

  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Feel tired, week, poor muscle control
  • May slur speech
  • May stumble frequently
  • Cool, clammy skin, pale complextion
  • Faster, shallow breathing usually with a rapid pulse
  • Dizziness / Fainting
  • Headache / feeling sick (nausea)

3. Heat Stroke

  • Usually no sweating
  • Hot, dry and flushed skin
  • Worker may be confused / agitated (also in denial of any major problem)
  • Probable stumbling
  • Probable slurred speech
  • Headache, nausea and possible vomiting
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Probable irregular pulse
  • Possible seizures and fainting
  • Probable shock and cardiac arrest
  • Probable death if left untreated

    Basic Treatment: The worker must be cooled immediately. Remove clothing, cool with sponge or sprayed water. Get medical assistance. If worker is alert, give worker water to drink. Worker may drink salty water but do not take salt tablets.

    Special thanks to Bill Laflin, (RPF / Level 3 EMP) and to W.C.B. for their valuable input on Heat Stress


    The Driver:

    - is responsible for the safe operating condition and operation of the vehicle. Drivers must do a pre-inspection which would include such items as a circle check. 

    Driver is checking:

    • for broken lights, mirrors, etc.
    • dents
    • telltale oil, grease around wheel lugs, bearings, and fluids under the vehicle
    • look at tire condition - don’t forget the spare!
    • look under the hood for loose belts, check the fluid levels, and worn hoses, etc.
    • when inside, check all gauges, seat belts and door handles are all working properly
    • first aid kit and fire extinguisher
    • general cleanliness


  • know where you are going
  • do not “cut” corners
  • do not drive close to the shoulders - especially after a rain or in the spring time
  • straddle deep ruts
  • do not “play Rambo” with your vehicle - keep it on the roads
  • know that your brakes may not work well immediately after driving through water
  • gear down
  • drive slowly over washboard to avoid “bounce”
  • approach all bridges and cattle-guards with caution
  • ensure all passengers are wearing seat belts
  • Slow Down! The Ministry of Forests and the B.C. Forest Safety Council are now monitoring some logging roads with radar
  • It should be clearly understood that most motor vehicle accidents on back country or forest industry type roads are primarily caused by inexperienced drivers with poor driving skills, often combined with excessive speed.

The above situation appears to be on a straight portion of road. - was this,

  • speed and washboard?
  • speed and a cell phone?
  • in general, undue care and attention?

Vehicle Fires

    Why Wildland Fire Fighters DO NOT FIGHT VEHICLE FIRES

    The following video is a clear demonstration of what can happen with some bumpers (nitrogen filled absorbers) during a fire.

    Never approach from the front or rear.

    Tires can also explode and cause serious harm.

    Vehicles fires are extremely dangerous! (Even if a fully trained structural fire crew attends a vehicle fire, most often the vehicle is a total "write-off" anyhow.)

    Summary - Wildland Fire Fighters do NOT attempt to fight vehicle fires!

When water "hits" magnesium!

"gas" filled bumper shock absorbers, exploding

Motorhome fire - part way into video you will hear and see the propane tank, venting, as they are designed to do.  Note how close the people taking the video are to the motorhome. ... and then watch the video below.

Propane BLEVE! (Boiling Liquid Expanded Vapour Explosion)



    This course is designed for persons anywhere in the world - therefore we can't possibly know what your regions specific "creature" hazards are.  We suggest you compile a thorough list and ensure all persons working on a wildfire, know what these are and what to do for prevention - and treatment.


    Like all animals, they are opportunists. Their “grocery store” is in the bush and if we are working a fire, (or conducting any other forestry activity) we are in or near their “turf” and we must not add our food to their “grocery store”. 

    Pick up all garbage and maintain a clean, food free, fire line and work camp. A bear passing through, that does not find extra “goodies” will generally not return after about three days and may not become a problem bear. There is usually no need to shoot a bear the first time he/she comes near the work site or camp.

    If they do continue to be a problem they must be dealt with by the proper authorities.


    These animals are protected and must not be killed “just because we can”. A rattlesnake will not stalk you. If given the chance it will move away. Give it that chance. If you are working in rattlesnake country do NOT put your hands in holes while cold-trailing! Wear your pants loose over the top of your boots. If you are bitten, stay calm and ensure arrangements are made to immediately transport you by the quickest means available to the nearest hospital.

    It is extremely rare for a rattlesnake bite in B.C., to be fatal to an adult.


    This course is designed for persons anywhere in the world - therefore we can't possibly know what your regions specific "creature" hazards are.  We suggest you compile a thorough list and ensure all persons working on a wildfire, know what these are and what to do for prevention - and treatment.


    Always think and be aware!

    You are responsible for your own safety, and the safety of your fellow crew members!

    When in doubt, back out!

    The most important aspect of fire fighting is SAFETY!!!

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DRAM Ventures Inc. /

Contact Information


Doug Richardson 




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