Training & Recruitment
In 2013, the Ranger department revised its volunteer training to address the need to support and educate new volunteers while enhancing the knowledge base and skillset of volunteers who have worked with the department for many years. To this end, Ranger training was split into two tracks based on how long a volunteer has worked with the department.
Trainings were given through the late spring and the summer, including two on playa. In addition, the Rangers held two cross-department trainings — one on Ranger methodology and one on radio protocols and use — that were open to volunteers in other departments. This continues to be a well-received training and fosters collaboration between the Rangers and other Burning Man departments.
In 2012 the Rangers introduced a pilot program to maintain digital records of the incidents in which Ranger volunteers were involved. This incident management software, and the Operator team who volunteers to populate it, was vastly improved by a new software system this year. Additionally, this new team has started to find its footing and was fully staffed for the event.
Another new addition to the Ranger toolkit was an illuminated balloon that could be sent out into the city as a rallying point for Rangers or as a way for participants to find Rangers during the night. It’s a promising addition to Ranger outreach to participants during the event.
There were additional demands covering the city during the event, especially as additional streets were added and Rangers were asked to help with the creation of clear fire lanes in these newly charted territories, but overall Ranger volunteers stepped up to make sure that shifts were staffed. Additionally, Rangers were asked to assist with monitoring the resolution of environmental compliance issues documented through a collaboration between BRC and the BLM. With these additional demands expected to continue in future years, recruiting and retaining qualified volunteers continues to be a focus of the department, especially as the population and physical area of the city grows.
The placement of the law enforcement outpost next to Ranger headquarters created additional vehicular congestion in an already busy area, raising safety and operational concerns.
All major burns that Rangers participated in, including the CORE, Man, and Temple burns, went well. The Ranger Art Safety team worked with artists of other large burns to ensure those artist-led perimeters also went smoothly.
Overall, Ranger operations from setup through tear-down went smoothly in 2013, thanks to our crew of awesome volunteers both during the event and year-round.