Fire Fighter Issues

For additional information on firefighter issues, with an emphasis on the Forest Service, click on the links below. If the file does not load in your browser, right click and select "Save Target as" to save it on your computer, then open it from there. If you have problems accessing these documents, please contact our webmaster.

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NFFE Forest Service Council President Ron Thatcher's December 5, 2008 open letter to the Chief on Safety:

The letter begins, "Time and again, we have heard from Chief after Chief that the agency’s top priority is to ensure the safety of Forest Service employees. In contrast to this statement, many employees have come to believe that the purpose of post-accident investigations is less to develop lessons learned and improve safety than it is to assign blame. This belief is not easily refuted, given the current policy vacuum and recent events. With all due respect, if safety is truly the agency’s top priority, then it is long past time to back this statement up with policy..." Word pdf

NFFE Forest Service Council President Ron Thatcher's June 18, 2008 testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee:

Prior to the government-wide OPM policy change to address “diploma mills,” OPM had approved a supplemental Qualification Standard, GS-0401 Fire Management Specialist, for which in-house courses administered by NWCG counted toward the education requirement... We urge enactment of legislation to restore the standing of these courses... Transcript and Video of testimony

GS-0401 Fire Management Specialist Update:

Deadline to meet GS-0401 education requirements extended to October 1, 2010. Agencies commit to retroactive purchase of credits for in-house NWCG courses for incubents. See chronology and briefing for more information, including how NFFE continues the fight for a sane solution to this mess.

Comments from the field:

HTML, posted May 12, 2008. Some survey respondents have given permission to have their comments on the GS-0401 Fire Management Specialist qualification issue posted on the web in order to stimulate discussion. NFFE has suggested the agency perform content analysis of employee comments, since we feel it is critical that leadership listen to the field on the impacts this is having. If you wish to weigh in, send your comments to

Congressional Briefing Paper: OPM Policy Threatens Nation's Firefighting and Emergency Response Capabilities:

Topic is effect OPM policy change on education requirements will have on capabilities. During May 19-23, 2008, two dozen union reps will be taking this message to the Hill: tell OPM to restore credit for NWCG courses! (May 5, 2008) Word

Chronology of IFPM implementation, with links to primary sources (May 5, 2008) Word

Personal liability insurance reimbursement for firefighters: Your union's work to extend coverage pays off. (Dec. 27, 2007) HTML

Forest Service Implementation documents (March 28, 2008):

Transmittal memo, list of covered positions, and reimbursement process

Congressional Briefing Paper: Forest Service Responders at Risk:

This briefing paper deals with two topics: (1) the effect of competitive sourcing on fire capabilities and (2) policy reforms to address firefighter liability concerns. (May 1, 2007) Word PDF

Congressional Briefing Book:

Agency At Risk: Competitive Sourcing of the Forest Service (April 12, 2007) PDF Linked version posted Feb. 10, 2008: Includes a section on effects on militia. Word

NFFE-PEER-FWFSA Press Release:

Forest Service Looks to Outsource its Fire Militia (August 3, 2006) Word PDF

NFFE Press Release: Forest Service Competitive Sourcing Contract Terminated:

Shoddy Work Put Employees and Public in Unsafe Situations (May 3, 2006) HTML

Politicians listen to their constituents. Contact your representatives and tell them what you think about the wholesale outsourcing of government work.

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