FDIC 2015 Instructor Profile: Seth Barker

SETH BARKER is captain/training officer with the Big Sky (MT) Fire Department. He is a lead EMS instructor, fire officer I, fire instructor I/II, search and rescue training instructor, an EMT-P and a Wilderness EMT-P, a Blue Card instructor, and a structure protection specialist. He is also a National Wildfire Coordinating Group engine boss and a Montana State Fire Service Training School instructor. He is an advocate for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

Barker presented “Preplanning for a Wildfire Event: A Technology-Based Community Approach” on Wednesday, April 22, at FDIC International 2015.  



“I have been involved in the fire service for more than 15 years. In addition to being the captain and training officer for the Big Sky (MT) Fire Department, I am also a Blue Card Instructor, an International Society of Fire Service Instructors instructor, and one of the curators of www.FireFighterCloseCalls.com. I manage the “Pass it On” section, sharing knowledge and information through the Web site to future fire service generations. I am a Montana State Fire Service Training School instructor as well as one of the scholarship recipients of the National Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation for the Tampa 2 summit. I sit on multiple wildland urban interface boards, training around the State of Montana and the United States.”



“I have been atteding FDIC for more than five years. This will be the second straight year that I have been selected to teach.”



“Like many newly promoted, young company officers, I was tasked with identifying target hazards in the community and preplanning a reasonable response profile to better prepare our department. Our situation is very unique, having a department where our nearest mutual-aid partner is 35 minutes away. Having minimal staffing and a long response profile, we had to come up with a set of plans and tactics to prepare ourselves for the first 45 to 90 minutes for almost any hazard that presented itself. We identified the wildland threat in the interface of our district to be one of the most prominent. Years of preplanning, training, and formulating a strategy to be better prepared for the imminent threat led us to take a closer look at not only having a plan for our department but for the community we serve as well. This led to taking a deeper look at service we provide to our customers.”

“During this journey, we identified that the work was essential in having a global look at objecties we were trying to accomplish: preplanning the community. This involved starting from the apparatus floor with training the staff, then using the staff to train the community, and using the community to train each other to become advocates for the fire service. This developed a concept that neighborhood continuity is paramount when trying to achieve common ground with hazard mitigation. The staff worked very hard at formulating a plan to ensure continuity in the resource profile and mutual-aid partners.”

“Stepping back and looking at where this could bring a community, the fire service, and a department together, it was a clear and easy jump to inspire others. It is my passion to help others succeed and become better at what they do, from teaching and mentoring new EMTs to becoming a better, more well-rounded company officer. Teaching others to be better is my passion.”



“Understanding your community’s fire service needs, having them understand your operational proficiency, and having a 360° approach to meeting those needs will allow them to understand your honest capabilities and create a better tactical awareness on all levels when a big event happens in your fire district. Ensuring the public has complete buy‐in enforces the mission of the fire department and supports the other when the pressure is on. Enabling the public to be the fire service’s advocate as well as it’s voice is a win for all involved.”



“The concept of neighborhood continuity. Having the community look to each other to make their entire tract of homes, streets, subdivisions, or home owner associations and a safer environment from a wildland urban interface perspecLve. Geeting buy‐in from the customers helps the fire service help them.”



“I’m hoping to network with the colleagues, students, instructors, and friends that I have met through this conference. FDIC has proved invaluable in my career to create the network of like-minded instructors that helped me jump-start my career as a training officer. It has been extraordinarily difficult to create a cadre of resources coming from a small department that is a very isolated. FDIC has provided those resources that have proved invaluable.”

“Sharing information is everything in the fire service. Not being afraid to ask for or receive help or give back is the very concept that gave you your career. Everyone wants to be part of something that can help people. Standing up, raising your hand, and asking for an explanation is OK! Recognizing that no one has it wired 100 percent and that everyone needs help, whether it is with training, operations, or just how to become better, is possible…JUST ASK!”