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TNC External Fire Management Risk Assessment

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  • 1. TNC External Fire Management Risk Assessment
    • “ The past settles its accounts… …the ability to deal with a crisis situation is largely dependent on the structures that have been developed before chaos arrives. The event can in some ways be considered as an abrupt and brutal audit: at a moment's notice, everything that was left unprepared becomes a complex problem, and every weakness comes rushing to the forefront." Preventing Chaos in a Crisis - Patrick Lagadec
  • 2. Session Objectives
    • Review purpose and process of Risk Assessment
    • Report status of key findings and actions
    • Dissemination of information
      • Clarify some findings here
      • Others findings addressed in other sessions
    • Identify lead on FMAT action items and process for engaging in participation in changes in requirement and guidelines
    • Allow 20-30 minutes for discussion
  • 3. Objectives of Assessment
    • The Risk Assessment will conduct a comprehensive and thorough review of the Conservancy's fire management program with regard to risk, both domestic and international, to include:
      • Personal risk: Risks related to the health and safety of fire management staff and the public.
      • Reputational risk: Risks related to the reputation and ability of the Conservancy to meet its mission.
      • Financial risk: Risk of possible financial loss related to fire management.
      • Land ownership risk: Risks related to not burning or otherwise managing fire-prone vegetation occurring on properties owned or managed by the Conservancy.
      • Other categories of risk deemed appropriate by the review team.
  • 4. Objectives of Assessment
    • Review:
      • Conservancy's SOP, requirements, guidelines and processes as defined in the Fire Management Manual relative to risk management
      • Other fire management procedures and expectations
      • The extent to which TNC fire staff follow requirements, guidelines and processes.
      • Associated fire activities, such as training, planning and monitoring, which may result in indirect risks to TNC.
      • Processes for contracting burns, and participating in collaborative efforts through MOUs, CAs, etc.
      • Recommend an auditing process for ongoing assessment, including enforcement of standards and authority.
  • 5. Process
    • Chartered by Brad Northrup under the Conservation Strategies Group
    • Team leader recruited (Steve Pedigo), who then recruited members
    • Initial briefing in Denver
    • Staff interviews (15) and site visits (3/29)
    • Met at Tall Timbers to finalize review and draft document
    • Submitted to Brad Northrup in June 2005
  • 6. Outcomes
    • Commendations
    • 26 Findings and Recommendations
      • Based on stages of business cycle
        • Authorities and Responsibilities
        • Planning
        • Implementation
        • Oversight and Quality Assurance
  • 7. TNC Response
    • Results considered and response developed (Northrup, Shlisky, Hardesty, Seamon, Carlson, attorneys)
    • Three categories of responses:
      • Take action immediately
      • Take to Fire Management Advisory Team for consideration and possible action
      • Take to TNC Risk Committee
        • One later determined to be a compliance issue
  • 8. TNC Response
    • Distributed to FMAT and listserve
    • Fire Management Manual revised
    • FMAT working on recommendations
    • Burn Boss/Fire Manager meeting
    • After recommendations made by Risk Committee, will develop informational material for State Directors
      • Clarify their roles and responsibilities
  • 9. Commendations
    • TNC is an advocate for using prescribed fire for ecosystem management. Their approach is professional and based on understanding the science and historic role of fire in natural processes. Conducting this review, without some serious incident to provoke it, is an example of the kind of forethought that serves as the foundation of the TNC Fire Initiative.
    • TNC personnel involved in this review demonstrated energy, intellect and openness that are seldom encountered in large organizations.
  • 10. Commendations
    • Paula Seamon provided excellent insights into TNC policy, procedures and idiosyncrasies that were invaluable to the review team. She is a positive force in the TNC fire program.
    • The Fire Management Manual direction that requires each fire manager to understand state laws that apply to them is superb. Managing risk is predicated upon knowledge of authorities starting with state statutes.
  • 11. Commendations
    • The existing Fire Management Manual is comprehensive and well structured. While this review suggests changes to improve the overall effectiveness of the manual, in no way should the review comments be construed as broad based criticism of said document.
    • Fire management, by its very nature, requires relationships with many partners. TNC collaborates and cooperates with a wide variety of agencies, departments, volunteers and individuals. The culture of working with and through others serves the mission of TNC very well.
  • 12. Commendations
    • Adopting the National Wildfire Coordinating Group Standards for Training and Qualifications “310-1” puts TNC employees on common ground with other wildland fire agencies throughout the United States. It also provides a consistent standard within TNC for determining fire management qualifications.
    • TNC attorneys Susan Lauscher and Laura Robinson provided excellent background and support during their phone interview.
  • 13. Review of Selected Findings
  • 14. Finding #2: Personal Liability
    • 1998, TNC BOG passed a resolution indemnifying staff…
      • in the performance of such duties or service, or incurred while acting in such capacity or arising out of his or her status as such, provided that such person acted in good faith and in a manner reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to, the best interests of The Nature Conservancy, and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe that such conduct was unlawful or fraudulent.
  • 15. Liability Insurance
    • General Liability- $2,000,000
      • Coverage for bodily injury and property damage due to the Named Insured's negligence. 
      • The Named Insured wording includes employees and volunteers.
  • 16. Finding #3: Contracting
    • Should TNC approve a contractor’s burn plan?
      • Current guidance is “no” because of potential liability
        • Disadvantage is less control of how burns are executed by contractors
      • Going to TNC Risk Committee
  • 17. Finding #5: Clarify Accountability
    • Who is accountable for TNC fire programs?
    • Who has authority to enforce requirements and guidelines?
    • Recommended increased role for State Directors
  • 18. Finding #5: Clarify Accountability
    • Karen Berky – Chief Compliance Officer
      • We are all accountable
      • State and Program Directors are accountable for their fire programs; cannot override FMM
      • Authority lies with personnel designated in the Fire Manual
        • Fire Managers have authority and responsibility to enforce requirements and guidelines
        • Fire Management Coordinator - ditto
      • FMAT discussing involvement for SD
  • 19. Finding #6: Fire Mgt. Manual
    • Lack of understanding of what is in the Fire Management Manual
      • We don’t know our own standards
      • Assigned as pre-work for this meeting
  • 20. Finding #7 Site Fire Mgt. Plans
    • Site Fire Management Plans are not completed everywhere they’re required
      • FMAT looking into SFMP and planning process. Should other documents substitute? Develop checklist or spreadsheet that’s faster and easier? (Reisz/Moats)
  • 21. Finding #8: RX Burn Unit Plans
    • Burn Unit Plans were completed, but with a disturbing variation in level of detail. Too open and flexible.
      • Developed list of minimum components for Prescribed Burn Unit Plan now in Fire Manual
        • FMAT reviewing the list (Reisz/Moats)
  • 22. Finding #9: Signature Authority on Burn Plans
    • Review signature authority for burn plans. No one person should be able to write, authorize and execute a burn plan.
      • Mostly a problem for Fire Managers
      • FMAT discussion item (Reisz/Moats)
  • 23. Finding #11: ICT4 taskbook
    • Use the flexibility within NWCG system to develop plans for overcoming barriers such as signoff for W task in ICT4 task book
      • Possibility of using scenarios for W task
      • FMAT discussion item (Brunson)
  • 24. Finding #12: Safety and OSHA
    • Develop protocol for dealing with OSHA response should it occur following an accident
    • Develop safety section of Fire Management Manual
      • Under development (Seamon)
  • 25. Finding #13: Serious Incident Response
    • Develop protocol for responding to a serious incident on a TNC burn, such as a fatality or major property damage
      • Media, legal, families, incident review, documentation
      • FMAT will work on this (Bell/Bale)
  • 26. Finding #14: Pile Burning
    • Develop standards for non-broadcast burning, especially pile burning
      • FMAT item; looking at draft done by McGowan-Stinski (Guse)
  • 27. Finding #16: Mop-up Standards
    • Develop burn plan component to address mop-up standards
      • Do already have mop-up section in standard burn plan; perhaps need guidance section
      • FMAT discussion item (Heumann)
  • 28. Finding #18: Waivers
    • Do a complete review of waivers and their requirement for burning on non-TNC land
      • Wording in FMM clarified
      • Should waivers be required when burning on non-TNC land? If so, which one?
        • Going to TNC Risk Committee
  • 29. Finding #19: Physical Fitness
    • Provide clear guidance on physical fitness standards and testing, including volunteers
      • Current minimum is “moderate”, Fire Manager has discretion to require “arduous”
      • FMAT discussion item (Bell)
  • 30. Finding #20: TNC-VCM position
    • All volunteers should meet NWCG qualifications for ignition and holding positions. Phase out TNC-VCM position over time
      • Does not include positions like weather or fire behavior monitor
      • Does not mean eliminating volunteers
      • FMAT item (Hiers)
  • 31. Finding #24: Program Oversight
    • Develop an oversight and quality assurance process for fire programs
      • Standards and program efficacy
      • FMAT drafting a process (Babler)
  • 32. Finding #25: Incident Reports
    • Whenever possible, share lessons learned and incident reports through an open exchange of information
      • Some reports are sensitive because of legal cases or personal injuries
      • FMAT sub-group will take on task of reviewing incident reports and communicating lessons learned via listserve (Seamon)
  • 33. Finding #26: Post-burn reviews
    • Develop guideline for post-burn reviews or After Action Reviews to capture operational critiques after each prescribed burn
      • Guidelines developed and now in the Fire Management Manual
      • Session on AARs
  • 34.
    • Discussion