USFA offers wildland fire training for rural fire departments

Emmitsburg, MD – In a National Association of State Foresters sponsored report to Congress, The Changing Role and Needs of Local, Rural and Volunteer Fire Departments in the Wildland Urban Interface, a recommendation was made to develop performance-based wildland fire training “delivery packages” that target volunteer and rural fire departments.

As a result, the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) in cooperation with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) is working on a number of projects to provide structural firefighters with the competencies needed to work safely in wildland urban interface areas. This information will be provided to the States to utilize.

This program will provide an update on the Training Equivalency/Crosswalk project that identifies the necessary knowledge and skill set that a structural firefighter would have in responding to a wildland fire incident and meets the standards identified in NFPA 1001 and 1021. This project contains information on the common ground between wildland and structural firefighting and what additional training will be needed to work in this environment. Participants will provide project information to assist local, rural and volunteer fire services in assessing their readiness to safely engage in wildland fire suppression. After completing the testing phase of the project, additional information will be provided to all state fire training organizations. Each state will be able to use the crosswalk to evaluate training requirements for structural firefighters to effectively manage Wildland/Urban Interface firefighting.

Rural, volunteer and other local fire departments are the nation’s first line of defense against fires in the Wildland-Urban Interface and surrounding landscapes. The ability of local firefighters to contain a fire incident through quick and efficient initial response can dramatically reduce large-scale wildland impacts to the public and to the environment.

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