The California Dozer Operator's Group was created to provide Agency Fire Dozer Operators and Contract Dozer Operators a way to communicate together to develope safety and training practices and procedures when working on wildland fire incidents.
Grossmann Burn Center Annual
Dozer Operators Group BBQ
The Southern Chapter of the California Dozer Operators Group is a group of Heavy Equipment Operators from local southern California Fire Departments. Members of this group include California Department of Forestry, Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City, Ventura County, United States Forest Service, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Santa Barbara County, Kern County, Bureau of Land Management, Sacramento Metro Fire, and Vandenberg Air Force Base. Years ago, one our own was involved in a burn over on a brush fire. This group of Fire Service individuals has never forgotten how the Grossman Burn Center took care of one of our own. Annually since about 1990, the Dozer Group has shown our appreciation to the Grossman Burn Center with a BBQ for the burn patients currently in the hospital and their families, burn survivors who come back to visit and many hospital and burn center staff members. We now have an annual California Dozer Operators Group Meeting hosted by a different agency each year. At our annual DOG Meeting, we have guest speakers come to talk about things like safety issues, safety equipment, large fires of the past fire season ect. We also hold raffles and sell shirts, hats, decals, jackets and misc. items. The DOG Group uses the money collected from membership, raffle, sales and donations to hold the BBQ at the Burn Center, make donations to the Burn Center Foundation and hold the annual DOG Meeting.
The California Dozer Operator's Group (CDOG) became an official subsection of the California Fire Chiefs Association on May 9, 1985.
The group was organized on May 6, 1976 as a result of a cadre of heavy fire equipment operators expressing concern over the lack of standardized training and safe operating procedures for dozer operators working on wildland fires.
Since 1976, the group has built a foundation on the theme of "safety first". Informal meetings between agency operators occurred just prior to fire season each year until 1984. In May of 1984, the group decided to start meeting three or four times annually, and to hold each meeting at a different location. The group realized that the increase use of dozers and increased number of dozer related accidents pointed out the need to formalize the organization. At this meeting, a statewide organization was established which included three working committees on Safety, Equipment and Training.
The Safety Committees develops recommendations for fire service dozers and contract operators. In addition, the committee issues safety bulletins, reviews past accidents, and ways in which similar scenarios might be prevented. The Safety Committee has also developed suggested guide lines for contractor operations on wildland fires and has submitted them to many other states and to the Caterpillar Corp. for distribution. In 1987, the Safety Committee developed and distributed entrapment procedures for dozer operators caught in "blow up" fire situations.
The Equipment Committee reviews products which can improve communications and safety protection for the dozer operators during fireline operations. During its early years when most all agency equipment had open ROPS, the committee researched different types of helmets, air supply and compatible communication systems that in recent years has evolved in to research of the various enclosed air conditioned/sound suppressed cabs and global positioning systems available on the market along vast improvements in fire curtains that are still required for maximum operator protection. The Equipment Committee is also developing a statewide trip book so Heavy Equipment Operators working mutual aid and strike team assignments will know the locations of key fueling, feeding and mechanics locations as they move from county to county.
The Training Committee has worked very hard over the years assisting other fire service organizations in developing safety guidelines and operational procedures for heavy equipment operators, contract dozer operators and swampers. Our group was instrumental in the initial development and instruction of the new ICS classification "Dozer / Strike Team Leader". These safety and instructional guidelines are being utilized now in other states such as Florida, Nevada, Washington and Colorado.
The Training Committee has also worked with colleges such as Crafton Hills and Allan Hancock to provide safety training as part of their wildland fire fighting curriculum. The committee has also developed swamper and dozer manager training courses for Crafton Hills College and for the U.S. Forest Service, used on the Angeles, Los Padres and San Bernardino NF's.
Looking back at some of the old records, the paid membership in 1976 was only 15. Now in 2006, as the highly respected California Dozer Operators Group enters its 30th year, we count well over 400 regular and associate members hailing from throughout California, Oregon and Nevada.