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Bob Loveless, , bloveless7@gmail.com (Presenter)
Adam Hernandez, USDA Forest Service, Sierra National Forest, saintguitars@yahoo.com

 

A human factors/leadership (HF/L) training program (L-courses) was initiated in 2000 by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. This training addresses human decision-making errors with the expectation of reducing injuries, entrapments and fatalities in wildland fires. Six courses are progressively available during a firefighter’s career. At the end of 2009, over 40% of federal wildland firefighters have had at least one L-course but only 0.11% had completed all six courses. Firefighters take successional L-courses on average once every two years. Using Poisson regression, the annual rate of firefighter entrapments (number/1000 person-hours exposed on the fire line) was examined for six years prior and ten years after program implementation. Since program inception, rate ratio estimates indicate an 80% (0.49-0.92, ?=0.05) reduction in the annual entrapment rate for all (federal and non-federal) wildland firefighters after controlling for variation in annual acres burned and exposure time. A similar 73% (0.13-0.92) reduction was observed for federal firefighters. We recommend continuation of the HF/L courses and suggest data collection improvements for continued monitoring.