Different investigations are required by USDA Forest Service and by federal regulations following a wildfire-related fatality. Personnel conducting data collection for these investigations might become so focused on their task that they can, inadvertently, be insensitive to persons directly affected by the accident. The Coordinated Response Protocol (CRP) and Learning Review are designed to make the process as painless as possible for all involved.
The CRP and Learning Review are principle-based approaches designed to minimize the impact that incident organizational reviews can have on the personnel involved while simultaneously meeting organizational and ethical requirements. The process places the individual first, focusing on capturing multiple perspectives, rather than resolving various accounts into a single plausible and organizationally accepted story.
CRPs coordinate a number of reviews and investigations including claims, survivor benefit reports, coroner reports, and the "Learning Review." It can also include critical incident stress management, law enforcement site security, hazardous material handling, logistics, and safety.
According to John Phipps, Station Director of the Rocky Mountain Research Station, “The goal of the CRP is to ensure that all of the agencies and organizations that have roles and responsibilities in regard to this accident are able to fulfill them in a way that does no further harm to those involved in this tragedy.” Information derived from incident reviews are used to prevent future accidents, not to take disciplinary action or place blame on employees (see the CRP protocol paper).
The Learning Review replaced the Serious Accident Investigation Guide and is designed to produce at least two learning products, one to use in the field and one for organizational leadership. Learning Review teams are comprised of individuals trained and experienced in accident investigation as well as subject matter experts in wildfire suppression, fire engine operations, human performance, and other disciplines. Learning what happened and why provides vital information to leadership as they work toward improving safety of employees and other personnel.
For more information, see the Coordinated Response Protocol and Learning Review Guidance provided by the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center.