SAFENET

Q & A's (FAQ)

  1. What is SAFENET?

    The SAFENET form and process was designed for frontline firefighters and endorsed by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) in 2002.

  2. What is the purpose of SAFENET?

    SAFENET provides another way for frontline firefighters to be heard - to get unsafe situations resolved on the fireline. SAFENET is also a means of capturing important safety-related data for a common data base at the National Interagency Fire Center to help determine long-term trends and problem areas.

  3. Why was SAFENET developed?

    SAFENET is a response to numerous requests from field fire managers and firefighters. These requests culminated in the TriData Wildland Firefighter Safety Awareness Study, and became a recommendation of Phase III of that Study.

  4. Who fills out SAFENET?

    Anybody who was involved in or witnesses unsafe situations in wildland fire.

  5. When do I fill SAFENET out?

    SAFENET may be filled out anytime you want to document an unsafe situation.

  6. Can I fill out SAFENET for a non-incident situation?

    Yes. Although SAFENET is intended for wildland fire operations, it has been extended to include such activities as training, and all-hazard (floods, hurricanes, etc).

  7. What type of safety issues should I report?

    Any safety issue. SAFENET not only begins corrective action, it also documents the issue. SAFENET should also be used to document "near misses." We ask only that SAFENET submissions not be frivolous or be used maliciously to address personal "paybacks."

  8. Who do I give this form to?

    SAFENET should first be directed to your supervisor. The SAFENET may also be submitted to your agency safety officer, to the incident commander in charge of the affected operation, or even to the local agency administrator. You may also submit the SAFENET electronically directly to the SAFENET Administrator.

  9. Where does this form go?

    Ultimately the form goes to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, where the data is entered into an interagency database.

  10. What role does my supervisor have with SAFENET?

    The supervisor's role is the key to corrective action. If you are unable to take corrective action, the supervisor should be able to do so.

  11. Why should I submit SAFENET to, or inform my supervisor of, submission?

    SAFENET is not intended to replace existing avenues for immediate action, rather it is a system that promotes the dissemination of hazard information as well as the analysis of large scale safety trends primarily in the wildland fire environment. The whole idea with SAFENET is that corrective action can most effectively be taken at the ground level. The supervisor is key to making this happen.

  12. Do I have to sign my name to this form?

    No. You have the right to file a SAFENET anonymously, however, issues can often be resolved more quickly if they can be discussed with the originator.

  13. If I submit SAFENET with my name, is it confidential?

    No. If you want complete confidentiality when filing SAFENET, file it without using your name.

  14. Will I be punished for using SAFENET?

    No. You will not be punished for using SAFENET. However, if you feel some reason to fear punishment, then file SAFENET anonymously. Equal consideration will be given to all SAFENET filings regardless if they are signed or not.

  15. Is use of SAFENET mandatory?

    No, but you have a better chance of having your issues resolved if you use it.

  16. Is everybody using SAFENET?

    We hope so. SAFENET is being promoted throughout all fire organizations, be they local, state, or federal.

  17. Who provides the actions taken?

    The originator of the SAFENET should describe what actions he/she took to correct or mitigate the unsafe/unhealthful event.

  18. Is SAFENET the only way to initiate corrective action?

    No. Corrective action for safety-related problems should come from any source you can find. SAFENET is just being provided as another vehicle to voice your concerns.

  19. Did the field have input into the development of SAFENET?

    People at the field level were consulted during all aspects of SAFENET development. Additionally, SAFENET was field tested for one year in the Pacific Northwest to gain insight into field level concerns before making it a national program.

  20. Where can I get a SAFENET on an incident?

    Submit SAFENETs on the SAFENET website.

  21. Does SAFENET replace accident reporting?

    No. The Safety Management Information System (SMIS) Accident/Incident Report is the official Department of the Interior system for reporting incidents and accidents.

    The U. S. Forest Service has the same basic reporting system called SHIPS - Safety and Health Integrated Personnel System.

    Other agencies may also have primary accident/incident reporting systems. Always follow your agency policy for reporting incidents and accidents.

    SAFENET is a system designed for sharing knowledge and mitigating hazards for all fireline personnel, regardless of agency.

  22. What is meant by "Management level" in the "Event" block?

    The Incident Command System defines levels of complexity and management of incidents, from the most complex (Type 1) to the least complex (Type 5). A variety of factors are used to define those levels. For wildland fire, those factors or criteria may be found in the Fireline Handbook and other agency manuals.

  23. What do you mean by "human factors" in the Contributing Factors block?

    Human factors are the interactions of the individual with the work environment that often contribute to, or cause incidents/mishaps. The interactions generally fall into two categories: behavior and mechanical/physical. Behavior includes such things as decisions/decision making, communications and interaction with others.

    Mechanical/physical include such things as compatibility of tools, equipment, procedures, design of things, arrangement of instruments or controls.

  24. Who completes the "Agency corrective actions" block?

    Each agency will determine who completes the corrective actions for a particular SAFENET. The intent is to eliminate the unsafe situation at the administrative level closest to the place and time of the incident. As the SAFENET works its way through the system, ultimately to the national level, there may be several "agency corrective actions" that are appropriate.

    Operationally, the goal is to remove the risk from the workplace. Pragmatically, the goal is to fix any contributing or causal factors, training, procedure or standard so as to eliminate the risk.

  25. How is SAFENET different than SAFECOM?

    In terms of intent, there are no differences. SAFECOMS deal with aviation incidents/mishaps and SAFENETS deal with ground operations incidents/mishaps. SAFECOMS go to aviation program managers and SAFENETS go to operations program managers for either reporting purposes or resolution.

  26. What will the National Center do with SAFENET information?

    The national fire management safety program managers at NIFC will receive all SAFENETS. Each will be reviewed to see what kinds of safety issues are being reported and how the issues are being resolved, and the timeliness of resolution and at what levels of the organization. SAFENETS will be used to identify national trends, and to alert all fire program personnel of situations that warrant consideration or need. SAFENETS also will be used to identify new safety issues that may not be obvious to local personnel but would show up in the aggregated information.

  27. Will agency personnel have input before a SAFENET is posted on the SAFENET Website?

    Whenever a SAFENET is submitted to the national fire management safety program managers at NIFC, it automatically will be forwarded to the appropriate agency safety manager for mitigation followup and comment. Two working days after the SAFENET is submitted, it will be posted to the SAFENET website at http://safenet.nifc.gov/.

  28. Where can I find an electronic version of SAFENET?

    An electronic version of SAFENET is available on the internet. The site address is http://safenet.nifc.gov/. Some firefighters may not have internet access, so it is important to make sure some form of SAFENET is completed and filed as soon as possible, and that it is given to the person who can take action to correct the safety issue.

  29. Will SAFENET be included in future fire training?

    Yes, SAFENET training has been included in annual refresher training as well as other fire training courses in the fire career progression.

  30. Where does the electronic SAFENET go when you hit the submit button?

    The SAFENET will be delivered to the SAFENET Administrator located at NIFC and then forwarded on to the person responsible for fire safety on the unit and to the regional/state fire safety officer two working days before being posted to the SAFENET website.

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