September 14, 2022
Uniting communities globally with a common cause and seeing that we are more alike than we are different.
The beauty of modern life gives us more opportunities to connect with those that live great distances from us, but our shared experiences connect us across the waves.
Through our humanity and connection we have the opportunity to learn and understand one another better and more deeply. We are honoured to have had the chance to talk with Shayne McLaughlin of Fortress North America, based in the West Coast State of America.
With a wealth of emergency services experiences under his belt and currently helping people protect their land and property from the wildfires raging in California, we were excited that Shayne was able to share his words with us.
Location: Nevada County, California
The lowdown on Shayne:
“As former fire-fighter and police officer I was recognized for my dedication to duty with a commendable record of patrol and protection. Prior to joining Fortress North America, I served as a paid-call firefighter and was the lead defensible space inspector for the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services.
In this role, I conducted defensible space inspections, investigated complaints while leading a team of defensible space inspectors in their daily activities.
I was also the principal founder of a private wildfire defence company where I analysed structure ignition potential in the wildland urban interface and consulted on appropriate construction materials, material ratings, risk mitigation strategies, and wildfire defence techniques.”
A: It is sad to say but it has become the new norm. Every year our expectations are each fire season will be worse than the last one.
A: Absolutely. As I mentioned in the previous question, our expectations are that there is no more of a normal fire season. Our wildfires are getting bigger each year with more devastating loss.
A: Money. Plain and simple, money.
We need more programs that are cost effective for homeowners so they can address vegetation removal and home-hardening projects.
Also, those same homeowners are losing wildfire insurance that covers their homes if they were to be lost during a wildfire event.
A: My training and experience.
I have been taught to slow things down, have good situational awareness and base my decisions on the intel I have gathered.
A: The evacuation process and the loss of individual’s homes.
A: Frustrating because some people do not heed the warnings to leave.
As for seeing people lose their homes, it truly hits home because I am only human and could not imagine losing all that I own and what is precious to me – those irreplaceable items.
A: For me personally, it’s stressful. I am a fellow human and seeing loss over and over again can be taxing.
As for our community, we have had multiple families lose their homes and some of our forest has been damaged. Also, the smoke from these fires last for weeks.
A: I enjoy connecting with people. Relationships are important in this industry. I enjoy helping people.
Although I am now in the private sector, our company’s focus is on protecting our environment and providing fire professionals with innovating fire retardant.
A: Again, connecting with people. This Q&A is a prime example of relationships within the fire industry. Because of our connection, I am able to participate in this project and share my insights and experience.
A: You are going to see things you can not un-see. Be prepared for change and keep your fitness level at peak performance.
I am a busy husband and father. I have two daughters who are great kids that play volleyball. One is in college and the other is a freshman in high school. A lot of my free time is spent at volleyball tournaments.
My wallet and cell phone. It is a must to have both. If I leave without one or the other, I feel naked.