USFA Releases Local, Rural Firefighter Tool

On Jan. 23, the U.S. Fire Administration, in cooperation with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, announced a new aid, titled the Skills Crosswalk, to help local and rural firefighters identify training equivalencies and needs for effectively fighting wildfires that threaten residential areas. The aid identifies critical wildland firefighting skills that structural firefighters need to be safe and effective when making an initial attack on a wildland fire in their jurisdiction, or when working with state and federal wildland firefighter agencies.

"Our nation's firefighters already have the necessary skills for fighting fires in all structures in a community," said Greg Cade, U.S. Fire administrator. "Structural training does not however always address the critical wildland fire suppression techniques which differ from structural firefighting techniques. The new Skills Crosswalk highlights the differences in order for structural firefighters to be able to address wildland fire suppression challenges."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2006 report, in every area of the nation rural development is expanding into wildland areas. Since the 1980's, the rural population has more than doubled, with 140 million people now living in rural areas. As a result, rural and volunteer firefighters increasingly manage fire in the Wildland/Urban Interface.

Skills Crosswalk provides a performance-based methodology and a learning resource guide for qualified structural firefighters to develop wildland firefighting knowledge and skills in a focused and time-efficient format, said USFA, adding that this methodology will assist structural firefighters with wildland skills in working more safely and effectively on initial and extended attack operations and enhance cooperative firefighting efforts with neighboring jurisdictions and federal wildland firefighters.

To view the document, visit www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/wildland_training_crosswalk.pdf.

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