The Challenge

Creating operators instead of followers.  Knowing and accepting the responsibilities of being a team member in a high-risk operational environment.

The Course

Human Factors in the High-Risk Environment is an entry level human performance skills course. It is designed as a 6-hour classroom experience. Its primary purpose is to establish a cultural expectation to be an operator, not a follower; To establish an awareness of human performance issues and how they can impact performance as a team member; To provide a common vocabulary of human performance; And, to communicate the professional responsibility to address human performance issues while on the job. This course addresses the human factors relating to individual team members, including:

  • Situation Awareness
  • Communication Responsibilities
  • Barriers to Situation Awareness
  • Decision Making and Risk
  • Team Cohesion

The desired outcome of this training is improved awareness and standardized vocabulary of human performance issues so individual operators can integrate more effectively into teams/crews working in dynamic, high-risk environments.

The program is customized to the client’s operating environment, including the following:

  • Wildland Fire
  • Structural Fire, Rescue & HAZMAT
  • Law Enforcement & Public Safety
  • Emergency Medicine, Bio Response & Public Health
  • Industry


MCS principals were involved in the establishment of the human factors curriculum in U.S. commercial and defense aviation in the 1980s and 90s.  MCS was a development partner with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG), creating the first Human Factors on the Fireline course in 1998 in response to the loss of 14 wildland firefighters in the 1994 South Canyon Fire.  Since then, MCS has helped many agencies across the U.S. and internationally develop their own custom versions of the program and conduct train-the-trainer sessions for their own cadres.

It was officially integrated into the NWCG Leadership Curriculum as L-180 in 2002.

Who should attend?

  • New employees as part of their initial training or before integrating into a fully operational team
  • Current team members with little to no exposure to formal human factors concepts
  • Experienced team members as part of a Train the Trainer program




This program meets all requirements for the L-180 Human Factors on the Fireline certification standard established by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).

The Department of Homeland Security has approved this program for use with SHSP and UASI grant funds.


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