Innovations
May 7, 2012

L’innovation au service de la lutte contre les incendies

La fonction publique de l’Ontario œuvre dans la lutte contre les incendies depuis la fin du 19e siècle.

Dans la province, l’histoire de la lutte contre les feux de forêt est et demeure marquée du sceau de l’innovation.  Deux décennies après qu’Orville Wright eut réalisé le premier vol en avion, le Ontario Provincial Air Service organisait des patrouilles circulant en « hydravion ». Aujourd’hui, nous évaluons la façon dont les lunettes de vision nocturne peuvent nous aider à détecter les incendies et à les gérer.

La Direction de l’aviation et de la gestion des feux de forêt du ministère des Richesses naturelles est un modèle du genre en matière d’innovation, conséquence d’un leadership stratégique, du soutien du personnel de première ligne et de partenariats efficaces.

Assurer un leadership stratégique

Le rôle que jouent les cadres supérieurs dans la création d’un environnement propice à l’innovation va au-delà de l’élaboration d’une orientation stratégique; ils sont également à l’origine de l’instauration d’une culture d’apprentissage. Le programme des Services d’aviation et de lutte contre les incendies de forêt a toujours été axé sur l’évaluation des évènements passés et les leçons à en tirer, ainsi que sur la détermination d’objectifs dans une perspective d’amélioration.

Cela signifie que nous devons constamment évaluer ce que nous faisons. Dans le cas d’un grand feu de forêt, on procède à des évaluations pendant qu’on lutte contre le feu afin d’apporter des améliorations au fur et à mesure que progressent les opérations. Les nouvelles idées sont approuvées par les cadres hiérarchiques puis font rapidement l’objet d’une large diffusion.

Entre le personnel de première ligne et le Centre ministériel des opérations d’urgence, les équipes de lutte contre les incendies prennent régulièrement quelques minutes pour effectuer une « analyse après coup ». Celle-ci répond aux quatre questions suivantes :

Qu’avions-nous prévu de faire?  Que s’est-il réellement passé? Pourquoi notre plan ne s’est-il pas déroulé comme prévu?  Comment procéderons-nous la prochaine fois?

Ces questions simples prouvent au personnel que l’organisation cherche à s’améliorer et qu’elle a besoin de leur aide pour y parvenir.

Bien entendu, les cadres supérieurs doivent également gérer le risque inhérent à l’innovation. Il est important d’encourager les employés à prendre des risques et à essayer d’appliquer de nouvelles mesures. Il faut de fortes compétences en gestion pour faire en sorte qu’on tire des leçons des projets ayant échoué et que ces projets soient abandonnés, et aussi pour encourager et planifier la transition entre la théorie à la base des bonnes idées et la mise en application de celles-ci.

 

Soutenir les employés

Tout personnel motivé et bien formé fera naturellement preuve d’un esprit d’innovation pour améliorer ses méthodes de travail. En effet, lorsque les employés sont motivés à atteindre les objectifs organisationnels, ils cherchent des idées innovantes. La Direction est extraordinairement déterminée à remplir les objectifs de gestion des feux de forêt fixés par le Ministère de manière à faciliter une amélioration constante, venant à l’appui de ces objectifs.

Un des moyens pour promouvoir l’innovation est d’accorder un financement annuel à un Groupe de travail sur la Science et la technologie des feux en vue d’encourager le personnel de première ligne à trouver de nouvelles idées. Cette équipe – ainsi que l’ensemble de la Direction – savent que chaque année, des fonds seront disponibles pour évaluer de nouvelles idées et les concrétiser.

 

Établir des partenariats porteurs

Les partenariats permettent d’introduire des idées et des perspectives diverses qui ne sont pas toujours chose courante au Ministère. Depuis des décennies, nous tirons avantage des partenariats conclus avec des universités et le gouvernement fédéral afin de promouvoir toujours plus d’innovation. La Direction dispose d’une capacité très limitée de recherche et d’innovation scientifique; toutefois, elle continue de se doter de nouvelles sciences et de nouvelles technologies de concert avec des partenaires.

Depuis nombre d’années, la Direction travaille en collaboration avec le Service canadien des forêts et la faculté de foresterie de l’Université de Toronto en vue de mettre au point des modèles scientifiques et mathématiques. Ces partenaires disposent de compétences qu’on ne trouve pas au sein de mon ministère, tandis que celui-ci met à la disposition des chercheurs un « laboratoire vivant » où ils peuvent peaufiner et évaluer leur travail.

Plus récemment, nous avons conclu des partenariats avec l’ Université de Western Ontario, l’Université Carleton et l’ Université York (pour évaluer la technologie de la vision nocturne).

À l’École de design industriel de l’Université Carleton, des étudiants du premier cycle effectuent des évaluations et recommandent des modifications à apporter à l’équipement opérationnel de gestion de feux de forêt. Au bout de quatre ans, ce partenariat a permis de changer non seulement la méthode d’utilisation de l’équipement par le personnel, mais aussi le mode d’acquisition. Auparavant, le personnel sélectionnait l’équipement parmi les produits disponibles. Maintenant, le personnel et les étudiants établissent de nouvelles normes en ce qui concerne, entre autres, les lances d’incendie, l’équipement de secours et les ensembles imperméables.

Si les contrats de recherche à court terme portent sur des compétences en matière de conseil, les partenariats qui encouragent l’innovation exigent, par contre, une vision à long terme et sont bénéfiques aux deux parties. Ces partenariats nous permettent de connaître l’opinion qui a cours et nous apportent de nouvelles idées et des approches novatrices pour la résolution des problèmes. En outre, ils offrent aux étudiants la possibilité de tester leurs théories et de les expérimenter dans un contexte réel, ce qui ne peut être que bénéfique pour eux lorsqu’ils intègrent le marché du travail.

 

Conclusion

Dans les années 20, un fonctionnaire fut à même de convaincre les dirigeants d’alors qu

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