Fireline Safety Pocket Guide and Activity Log Notebook

The Challenge

For many years international pocket guides have been used by wildland firefighters and incident managers in South Africa. These guides sometimes contain information not relevant to a local context and also exclude local knowledge, information and insights which would make them more useful.

In terms of an activity logbook, most personnel would carry a pocket-sized notebook with blank pages. Their information is then recorded in different ways. With the increased adopted of ICS and the need for greater standardisation, there was a need to create a structured Activity Log Notebook which set out information in the same way and ensured the right information was being captured.

For both the Fireline Safety Pocket Guide and the Activity Log Notebook are initiatives which Vulcan Wildfire Management was contracted to develop and produce by the Provincial Government of the Western Cape through its Chief Directorate: Disaster Management and Fire & Rescue Services.

The Solution

Vulcan Wildfire Management developed, designed and produced the Incident Response & Fireline Safety Pocket Guide and the ICS 214 All Hazard Activity Log Notebook. Both pocket guides are of an internationally high standard made for use in the South African context. The success of these initiatives is further evidence of what Vulcan Wildfire Management is able to achieve by applying their skill set, incorporating their operational experience and collaborating with industry role players.

  • Incident Response & Fireline Safety Pocket Guide: The intent of this guide is to provide a quick reference aid and training reference for operational personnel from firefighters through to divisional supervisors and incident commanders for wildland fire incidents. It also has a secondary application for all-hazard incident response.
  • ICS 214 All Hazard Activity Log Notebook: This notebook, which fits in your pocket, is extremely useful to capture incident information. The layout includes fields where you can fill in incident information such as objectives, weather, safety messages, resources etc. and then there is space for logging activity events as the incident unfolds with a date, time and notable activities.



"Fight fire aggressively having provided for safety first"

From 10 Standard Fire Orders

"LACES – Lookouts, Awareness, Communication, Escape Routes, Safety Zones"



4 x Predicted Flame Length All Around You. (Flat Area). Minimum Firefighter Safety Zone Size

Minimum Distance in Meters to Stay Clear of Powerlines When in Smoke and/or Flames

Number of Supervisors Who you Report to on an Incident

Or Less Seconds After Hearing Thunderclap Following Lightning and Set Precautions Must be Followed

Ten Standard Fire Orders

  1. Recognise current fire weather conditions and obtain forecasts.
  2. Obtain current information and regular updates on fire status.
  3. Initiate all actions based on current and predicted fire behaviour.
  4. Determine escape routes and safety zones.
  5. Establish lookouts in potentially hazardous or dangerous situations.
  6. Stay alert, keep calm, think clearly and act decisively.
  7. Remain in communication with your crew, your supervisor and all adjoining resources at all times.
  8. Ensure that instructions are given, are clear and are understood.
  9. Remain in control of your resources at all times.
  10. Fight fire aggressively having provided for safety first.

18 Watch Out Situations

  1. Safety zones and escape routes not identified.
  2. Terrain and fuels make escape routes difficult.
  3. Unfamiliar with weather and local factors affecting fire behaviour.
  4. Frequent spot fires occurring over the fireline.
  5. Uninformed on strategy, tactics and hazards.
  6. Instructions and assignments not clear.
  7. Fire not scouted or sized up.
  8. Constructing or working on fireline without a safe anchor point.
  9. Working a fireline downhill with fire below.
  10. Attempting a frontal assault on the fire.
  11. Cannot see the main fire and not in contact with anyone who can.
  12. Unburned fuel between yourself and the fireline.
  13. Weather getting hotter and drier.
  14. Wind increases and/or changes direction, also dust and/or fire whirls occurring.
  15. No communication link with crew members, supervisors or other resources.
  16. Working in an environment not seen in daylight.
  17. On a hillside where rolling material can ignite unburned fuel below.
  18. Sleeping near or on the fireline.


Risk Management Process

  • Focus on Your Situational Awareness
  • Hazard Assessment
  • Hazard Control or Mitigation
  • Decision Point
  • Evaluate What is Occurring
  • Consider the Situation as it Unfolds (Maintain Situational Awareness)

Briefing Checklist

  • Situation
  • Mission
  • Communications
  • Services/Support
  • Risk Mitigation


Communication leads to connections, community and mutual value