LACES versus LCES: adopting an 'A' for 'anchor points' to improve wildland firefighter safety
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
Author(s): William R. Thorburn; Martin E. Alexander
Editor(s): Bret W. Butler; Richard J. Mangan
Publication Year: 2001

Cataloging Information

  • Alberta
  • anchor point
  • Canada
  • firefighter safety
  • firefighter training
  • LCES - Lookouts - Communications - Escape Routes - Safety Zones
  • International
Partner Site(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: October 12, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 10937


'LCES' stands for Lookouts-Communications-Escape routes-Safety zones. The elements of LCES form a safety system used by wildland firefighters to protect themselves from entrapment from free-burning wildfires and other fireline hazards. LCES was developed by Paul Gleason as a direct response to the tragic loss of life on wildland fires and a concern for the overload of rules and procedures that had to be remembered by a firefighter at any one time. Alberta Forest Protection has adopted this system but believes that an essential element is missing from LCES, namely the need for an 'A' for Anchor points. This need was identified as a direct response to an entrapment and subsequent fatality that occurred in Alberta in 1995. Alberta had a policy for anchor points being implemented, but this may never have happened. This need was further highlighted by a recent entrapment and fire shelter deployment by firefighters who had left the safety of their anchor point. Anchor points serve as a barrier to fire spread and should be designed to minimize the chance of being outflanked by a fire while line in being constructed. If work begins from an anchor point to prevent the burn-over of firefighters, the dependency on following escape routes to safety zones would be minimized due to the lessened chance of a burn-over or entrapment. It is not implied that neither escape routes and safety zones should be ignored, nor the '10 Standard Fire Orders' or the '18 Situations that Shout Watch Out!'. Adding the 'A' for 'Anchor points' to LCES, resulting in LACES, isn't likely to infringe on firefighter memory overload, and on the contrary, may be easier for firefighters to remember.

Online Link(s):
Thorburn, R. W.; Alexander, M. E. 2001. LACES versus LCES: adopting an 'A' for 'anchor points' to improve wildland firefighter safety. [no page] in Butler, B. W.; Mangan, Dick, editors. Proceedings of the 2001 International Wildland Fire Safety Summit, Nov. 6-8, 2001, Missoula, MT. Montana City, MT: International Association of Wildland Fire.