Friday, January 23, 2009
Zion Helitack is proud to be a contributer to the various roles that a Helitack crew provides. We spend hours each year providing support on Helibases, prescribed fire, doing aerial ignition, search and rescue, resource management projects, GIS missions, and many other aspects of aerial support in wildland fire. However, in the end we are an exclusive use Initial Attack crew! We spend most of our time preparing for and executing Initial Attack of small fires within and around our coverage area. In order to be good at what we do, the members of Zion Helitack realize that two things are essential. They must be in great physical condition, and they must keep their minds sharp and attention focused.
So what are the expectations for crewmembers on Zion Helitack? In order to be hired into a crewmember position, applicants need at least some experience on wildland fires. They need to have their basic training as a FFT2 completed. This typically occures within a single season of fighting fire on an engine or with a squad / hand crew. Interested firefighters do not have to be helicopter crewmembers. We will put our "rookies" through initial HECM training. Applicants that are excepted need to be able to and achieve successful completion of the "Work Capacity Test" at the arduous level. Commonly known as the "Pack Test". Pass a physical and possible drug testing and you have completed all the requirements for being on the crew... On Zion Helitack, as with other crews, we strive for more than just these basics...
Initial Attack Standards for Zion Helitack are as follows:
Physical Standards - 1.5 mile run in 11:00 minutes or less / 45 sit ups in one minute / 25 push ups in one minute / 7 pull ups done consecutively / 85 pound pack out 3 miles over level terrain in 90 minutes or less / successful completion of the WCT at the arduous level.
Additional Standards - crewmembers must commit to memory the "10 Standard Firefighting Orders" and recite any given order upon request from management.
We take very seriously our ability to attack wildfires in a quick and efficient manner. We are often landing on fires in some of the most rugged and unforgiveable country in Southern Utah. We are committed to everyone coming home safely and uninjured. This can only be accomplished if our crewmembers are in the peak of their physical condition and are trained well in tactics that will keep them safe on the fire line. We do not make our Initial Attack Standards part of the hiring criteria, however we do give preference of who gets what assignment to those that meet the Initial Attack Standards. This simply means that if you fail to achieve the high standards as stated above, and others on the crew do... you may find yourself driving the chase vehicles more often than you find yourself flying on I.A. It may seem like a harsh judgement to make, but in the end these standards are set to keep our crew safe and free from injury. We expect 110% of our crewmembers! For those that achieve such, we reward them highly with opportunities, growth, and shared achievements that are often recognized not only by Zion Helitack Management but many others outside of the crew.
A closing note: I hope that those looking for a position with Zion Helitack this year, have had the opportunity to submit an application to USAJOBS! I am unsure of the openings that will be available at this time, but hope to start our hiring process within the next few weeks. If you have questions about the crew or the hiring process don't hesitate to call Zion Helitack Management (435/865/4640). If you have not yet submitted an application, it is most likely too late for this season. We typically accept our new "rookies" from the group of applicants who get their resume's online before the first cut-off date. That date was January 20th. Please feel free to give us a call and discuss next years opportunities, if you missed this cut-off date, but there are few possibilities for us to accept applications for the 2009 fire season after this date has passed. To everyone else who has applied and are hopeful for a position, my recommendation would be to start your physical training program now... Should you be given a position with our crew, we will expect you to be in top physical condition.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
It seems to be inevitable each season. Although as a community of professionals we would like to think that the ability to see our way through a wildfire season without a single fatality is achievable, the reality remains that fighting fires is dangerous. It isn't always the fire that claims the life, but it seems that more often than not it is the fire which is a contributing factor to the loss of life. The first fatality of 2009 is not different. Our condolences go out to the survivors and family of the firefighter whom has lost his life in this horrific incident. It is our hope that we, as a community of firefighters, can take a moment to recognize the contributions of a fallen firefighter. May this fatality cause all of us to pause, if only for a moment, to consider our actions and the situations we are asked to engage in. It is our hope that we will continue to respect the dangerous nature of our jobs, and take the necessary precautions to ensure that we remain safe this 2009 fire season.
Name: John C. Myers
Years of Service: 6
Date of Incident: 01/03/2009
Time of Incident: 1533hrs
Date of Death: 01/03/2009
Fire Department: Union Chapel Volunteer Fire Department
Incident Description: Firefighter John C. Myers passed away from injuries received in a motor vehicle accident while working at the scene of an outdoor grass fire.
Myers was operating a fire department vehicle and traveling south on County Road Wesley, near the Pittsburg County line (OK), when his son, Firefighter Juston Myers, also working the fire and operating a privately owned vehicle heading north on CR Wesley, crossed left of center on the narrow gravel road in heavy smoke obstructed conditions and collided head on with the fire department vehicle his father was driving.
Personnel from several fire departments in the area worked for more than an hour and a half to free Firefighter John C. Myers from the wreckage. Firefighter Juston Myers and a passenger in the privately owned vehicle were both injured in the accident. Juston was treated at the scene and his passenger, Clayton Rice, was taken to a nearby hospital with head, leg and arm injuries.
Incident Location: On County Road Wesley, USNG: 15S TU 3497 3518 (6.67km due east of US Hwy 69), Atoka County, OK.
Seatbelts: Equipped and not in use both vehicles.
This is the first US wildland fire fatality for 2009.