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  • 08/30/2016
  • Ashley

My husband recently started work, for a wildland firefighting, place, here in Oregon. He has passed his tests, and is currently on his first fire. He was told before, that once he passed, he would get his red card. Now, he’s been informed that if he wants to retain a copy of it, they want him to pay them $200. Is it supposed to cost that much? He said the crew boss told him that they, “don’t trust you guys, to have copies”.

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  1. fs retired
    August 30, 2016 Reply

    In the FS, it doesn’t cost anything. Your IQCS card is just a copy of the employees training and fire experience that’s inputted into IQCS. Its a shocker that a contractor would require anybody to pay for this information. I recommend that he speak to a superior supervisor to confirm this.

  2. Ashley
    August 30, 2016 Reply

    He has spoken with several people now, including superiors. They said that it’s because they don’t like losing employees to other companies. But, he and others had injuries, and were told that they better keep it secret and work through it. So as soon as he finds a way to get it. He’s switching to a better place. Thank you for your reply

  3. techs672
    August 30, 2016 Reply

    “They said that it’s because they don’t like losing employees to other companies.”

    Exactly. It costs an employer to qualify their employees — whether the company covers tuition, travel, materials, instructor expense, supervisor time, trainee time, whatever — it represents an investment in a new employee. It’s harder for a company to stay in business if they end up paying to train their competitors’ employees as well as their own. $200 actually sounds pretty cheap to get from zero to FFT2.

    That said, I think it pretty cheesy to begrudge an employee the expense of FFT2 training after a full season’s work, and putting up a hassle about providing training records. It is maybe not so unreasonable to expect a repayment of training costs for somebody who leaves early. But that kind of policy should be clear at the time of hire.

    As far as suppressing reports of accident and injury, that is absolutely dangerous, flatly illegal, completely unprofessional, and embarrassingly quite common in almost every line of work, public and private. Whatever you decide in any particular case, try to play the long game for coworker safety and just outcomes.

  4. user81
    August 31, 2016 Reply

    Likely not a legal practice to charge $200 for personnel records in Oregon:


    BOLI loves this kind of stuff if your husband is headed to another company anyways.

  5. Former R6 CWN FF
    September 1, 2016 Reply

    Color me unsurprised. Region 6 is so vastly clogged with over-competitive contractors that they go out of their way to make it difficult for “their” employees to transfer elsewhere.
    There is no good reason for charging an employee for their own training & experience records, regardless of the employee’s intentions. It is simply to prevent them from “stealing” training from their current employer and taking it to a competitor. Unfortunately, competitors also include all the top wildland agencies that employ permanent full-timers.
    All in all, this sounds like a downright terrible company to work for and I would encourage you to seek new employment from a more reputable agency or company.

  6. Ashley
    September 2, 2016 Reply

    He originally had no plans on leaving. He was just surprised. He was under the impression that they had to have them on their person at all times, while on a fire. He really enjoys the job. And, that completely makes sense, to protect themselves from losing employees.He went to the hospital and the doctor said the infection he got from “toughing it out”, was bad enough that if they had ignored it any longer, he could have lost his leg, from the knee, down. He’s in severe pain and they are still having him come in. “If he wants workmans comp., he isn’t going to just sit on his a**.” One crew leader even told him, “If you were a horse, we would just shoot you.” But, He said he’s going to stick with it, so that he can get the experience, for this season. I just find this conduct, highly bizarre. I grew up in a military family, and I’m aware that sometimes there may be that peon, mentality. I spank know. :) You guys are out there, risking your lives. You deserve a certain amount of respect. And being that you guys are out there for so long together, you should take care of each other. Either way, I’m completely proud of him and of all of you for working so hard. You guys really make a difference.

  7. James valdez
    September 2, 2016 Reply

    Everyone is allowed of copy with no charge,. but could only use it for that agency

  8. SKeptic
    September 2, 2016 Reply

    This is common practice at Greyback as well as other contractors. A good reason to never get involved with them in the first place.

  9. Not Surprised
    September 3, 2016 Reply

    They’re clowns, very unprofessional. Many like to attached there redcard to an application. Which is what he should do, come join one of the fed agencies. Try and have him get a photo of it, don’t pay the 200. One can write there application outlining the certification. More important is that he gets a copy of his training certificates.

    Absolute clowns. They should be shut down, IMHO. Tell him to apply to an agency. Retirement, health, low pay, but it’s a career. If he’s interested, have him post a comment in here and around December I will contact him and help him out with his application, cut off dates, advice. Oh and at NO COST!.

    Absolute clowns, not the workers, the owners. Seldom looking at the greater good.

    1. PT57
      September 4, 2016 Reply

      You might be able to get your IQS printout from the dispatch office they company goes thru .130/190 and they want to charge. If he went out on any assignments with the company. They have recouped their cost. Seems like a chicken poop thing to do. And your question yes he should have his red card with him in his wallet. I have no experience with the contracting side. I went with the feds. Good luck.

  10. Easy money
    September 7, 2016 Reply

    Just call the dispatch center that sponsors the crew… Ask for the Forest training officer and you should be able to get a FREE cooy of your redcard and IQCS Master Record.

  11. Gary
    September 7, 2016 Reply

    I’m retired forest service and this my son’s first year as a contract fire fighter. He went a couple month’s without a call when he found out they didn’t have equipment for a third crew, so he bailed and cost him $150 to get his training stuff and red card.
    He’s out right now after about 20 days wearing the same pair of thread bare nomex, one pair the contract says two good pair. but who’s enforcing it?

  12. Former R6 CWN FF
    September 7, 2016 Reply

    These companies harp the importance of the almighty Red Card, implying how necessary it is to carry at all times. This reinforces the new guy’s mindset that its extremely valuable (which it is), so $200 is cheap right? Its all part of their “cost-return” system, ensuring that their own employees contribute to maintaining their sweet sweet profit margin. God forbid paying firefighters an actual living wage, let alone pigeon-holing them into paying unnecessarily extravagant costs for records they can obtain for free. Never have I felt more independent and respected in my career than when I finally landed an agency fire position. Seasonal/temp firefighters gain so much more training and experience inside an agency, most contractors won’t even put you through a legit Basic-32.
    Also, on a sidenote, it was my experience in the private firefighting realm that if you didn’t buddy up within the “circle of trust” of certain squad leaders/overhead, you never got any additional training and never got name-requested for fires. The favoritism and politicking in that industry is ridiculous.

    As Not Surprised also offered, I can help out with fire resumes and applications. Feel free to PM me

    1. Phoenix Monro
      December 19, 2016 Reply

      Hello sir!
      I am a Canadian getting my resume together to apply for my first year of Wildland service. I saw that you offered to help look over/ share feedback on resumes. I would greatly appreciate your help!
      Phoenix Monro

  13. stringtown
    September 9, 2016 Reply

    Ask the 8 families of the Grayback Forestry firefighters who died in the the Siskorsky crash in 2008 how much support they got afterwards from Grayback. I wouldn’t risk my life for a crooked company for any amount of money. Tell your husband to get the Red Card quals through the other channels mentioned here and run away, fast…get an agency job if you want to make a career in fire.

  14. Bryce Nielsen
    September 10, 2016 Reply

    This sounds border line illegal to me.

  15. Mike Lee
    September 10, 2016 Reply

    Some contractors are worthless. Just out for them selfs. The employee is just a number. Its a very wrong and unjust system. Get out of that world asap

    1. Brandon Price
      December 3, 2016 Reply

      Mike Lee: Some agency offices are worthless as well. There are good people in both circles. I’ve worked wildland incidents alongside both and have never found there to be a constant. Everyone has seen agency personnel “sit on fires” and collect hazard pay and there are some very good contractors out there as well. Before you throw an entire group under the bus, remember we are all on the same team.

  16. Lassen lass
    September 30, 2016 Reply

    Back in the old days we used to tough out stuff – seeing people killed, injuries, etc. Nowadays it’s a good way for the company to face a boatload of OSHA non-compliance fines… what, if they were KIA, would the crew boss tell the guy on a dozer to dig a trench and chuck them in so it wouldn’t get reported??

    This ain’t the 80’s… if a company is worried about paying a comp claim because someone got hurt, or an osha fine because their employees were doing stupid or dangerous stuff, maybe they should be in another line of work. We pay our insurance, have our safety meetings, and take care of business… not screw over our ass-busters. We all know – in this line of work, shit happens. Covering it up not only can get the company in deep doo-doo, the idiot crew boss who pulls the “sneaky pete” crap can get arrested, charged, fined, and do time.

    About the red card thing – I can totally see the company charging for it – most waive it if you’ve worked a season or 2 for them, but yeah, it insures you’re gonna keep your employees for at least a couple seasons… but saying that… a company like that… if their safety attitude is like that, I’m not sure I’d put a lot of credence in their training program, either.

  17. rangel
    October 1, 2016 Reply

    With any training you complete there’s a completion list that goes to your dispatch center. This is not the property of the contractor and any individual can get their’s. If there’s any problems due to behind the scenes deals then a FOIA will get them. I was on the Cramer fatality investigation team and there were many questionable issues with these records for the contract crews involved, like how do you get five T5 ICs signed off on a project fire that wouldn’t have any T5 ICs? But the contractor gets more money for a T2 IA crew so they need as many T5 ICs as they can get. Or a crew boss that has record of S 230, but none of ever having been to guard school? In my opinion the ineptness of these contract crews were partially responsible for the deaths of these two FFs. Every year you should get the record of that seasons experience plus a training update.

  18. Your name...
    November 20, 2016 Reply

    making him, or even asking him to keep his injury secret is illegal. File an EEO complaint.

  19. woodsman20
    February 25, 2017 Reply

    I worked for City, County, CDF, USFS and private contractors. As a engine capt. I made $25.00 hr. I always recieved a copy of my certs from all employers. That’s B.S. All the R-5 contractors I’ve worked for encourage you to take additional classes even help you pay for them. And they gave me my certs. Every ff on my crews carried there own red cards and, I also carried duplicates in my IC kit for every employee of the company. That was due to theft of wallets while on a R-6 incident while in the shower unit. Not all private contractors are pices of shi**.

  20. Joe miller
    September 15, 2017 Reply

    I lost my red card. Took course over 15 years ago. How do I find my records of completion?

  21. Greg
    October 20, 2017 Reply

    My expiration date is in 5 years so I imagine you have to re-take all the courses, get a WLFF physical, and do your pack test if it has been 15 years.

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