Type 1 and 2 IMTeams to evaluate USFA Type 3 IMTeams in pilot program

In an unusual development, the National Wildfire Coordinating Group has announced a new pilot program in which Type 1 and Type 2 Incident Management Teams will evaluate and mentor the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA) Type 3 All-Hazard Incident Management Teams. The intent of the pilot program will be to provide recommendations on the possible integration of all-hazard resources in support of wildland fire incidents.

The USFA is responsible for the Type 3 All-Hazard Technical Assistance Program and has developed Basic (I-100) through Advanced (I-400) ICS training as well as position-specific training courses and task books that match NWCG competencies. Currently approximately 70 Type 3 IMTeams have been formed through this system.

The Type 1 and 2 IMTeams that are mentoring or supervising a Type 3 IMTeam, either on or off an incident, will be expected to sign off on their USFA task books and complete performance ratings when appropriate. When Type 3 IMTeams are assigned to an incident the cost for their assignment will be absorbed by the team members’ agencies and the USFA. The costs will not be charged to the incident.

According to the NWCG:

The goal will be to evaluate the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)/USFA program as a nationally viable program to be validated, endorsed and utilized for future national deployment in support of wildland teams or other national mobilizations under ESF4 or other auspices.

It is important to recognize that the intent of this pilot is not to have the FEMA/USFA Program qualify or endorse state and local resources to manage wildfire incidents independently. This would require meeting the National Wildland Fire Qualification System Guide (PMS 310-1); rather, it is to help build all-hazard response capabilities and boost resource availability to support large scale incidents.

The successful outcome of this Pilot Program will enable the wildland and the all-hazard communities to work more effectively together, thereby enhancing the overall national response capabilities.

I am having a hard time picturing how this would work, after a Type 3 IMTeam has gone through this process and had some USFA task books signed off. If they are not going to “manage wildfire incidents independently”, how would they be used? Maybe individuals from Type 3 teams will be cherry-picked to fill individual positions, for example, using a USFA-qualified Type 3 Logistics Section Chief on a fire if there was a vacancy on a Type 1 or 2 team. Surely not. If a Type 3 team had some Unit Leaders on their team (many don’t), it would be easier to integrate them into a Type 1 or 2 team.

Or a full Type 3 team might be used to perform a specific job on a fire, such as running a Functional Group, doing long-range planning, or working with local law enforcement to coordinate evacuations.

If the real goal is to simply give the Type 3 teams more emergency management experience while getting some task books signed off, that makes more sense.

via @FireInfoGirl

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Type 1 and 2 IMTeams to evaluate USFA Type 3 IMTeams in pilot program”

  1. It isn’t that new of a program or idea. FEMA/USFA has had Type 3 teams shadowing federal IMTs since 2003. In the past, the largest participants have been from FDNY; Prince Georges County; Fairfax County; and various others.

    What may be new is that they are expanding the program to an even greater level based upon the success over the last few years. They may also be assigning it to NWCG for other motives such as deep pockets DHS funding sources.

    The memo states, “Since the inception of this program (2003, Type 3 teams have been shadowing Type 1 and 2 IMT’s to gain valuable experience and enhance response capabilities.”

    What scares me is the NWCG getting involved in a process that was successfully being managed by individual federal agencies. Lately, NWCG hasn’t been functioning too well… IMHO.

  2. These teams are being pushed by FEMA for managing non-wildfire emergencies…floods, tornadoes, etc. Someone at USFA/FEMA had the foresight to have them do some training with wildland IMT’s, which of course is where the experience lies, but their intended use is for other local/regional emergency management. I’m glad to see them getting a chance to work with the highly experienced teams, and not just take a class and be “qualified”.


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