USFA Advocates Development of Incident Management Teams

New Page 1 Washington, D.C. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced a training "roadmap" for the Nation's fire and emergency services that wish to develop local and regional/metropolitan Incident Management Teams (IMTs). This recommendation comes in part as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between USFA, the International Association of Fire Chiefs/National Fire Protection Association Metropolitan Chiefs. The MOU signed in 2002 is designed to:
  • Establish metropolitan area IMT regional overhead teams based on the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) models;
  • Develop IMT capability;
  • Develop and train IMTs to support command;
  • Provide mutual aid staff - unified command training and development; and
  • Utilize the Integrated Emergency Management System.

This IMT training roadmap, developed in partnership with USFS, also supports Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD-5), which states: To prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies, the United States Government shall establish a single, comprehensive approach to domestic incident management. The objective of the United States Government is to ensure that all levels of government across the Nation have the capability to work efficiently and effectively together, using a national approach to domestic incident management.

"The USFA Incident Management Team training roadmap is a result, as well as the next step, of the MOU signed in early 2002 with the Metropolitan Chiefs," said R. David Paulison, U. S. Fire Administrator. "Today's fire service leadership is faced with extremely complex response requirements. The IMT roadmap will ensure all departments will have the necessary incident management support they need, if they need it to further protect their residents and cities."

The IMTs have been designed to assist local emergency services and support unusually large, complex, or long-term emergency incidents, when requested. An all-hazards IMT consists of emergency service officers from appropriate disciplines (fire, rescue, emergency medical, hazardous materials, law enforcement) trained to perform the functions of the Command and General Staff of the Incident Command System (ICS). These functions include Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Administration/Finance, as well as Safety, Information, and Liaison. Members of the initial responding departments often fill these functions; however, the size, scope, or duration of an emergency incident may indicate the need for an IMT to support them. The local Incident Commander can request, through standard mutual aid procedures, an IMT to help support management of the incident.

"The operations of IMTs are highly dependant on the local community needs, available resources, and the level of training/experience," said Charlie Dickinson, Deputy United States Fire Administrator and former chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire. "Local jurisdictions may establish, train, and control IMTs at their respective levels. The USFA and USFS will work together in delivering training to develop the IMTs."

USFA and USFS are also working together in delivering specialized training to develop "Type 3" IMTs for regional or state level incidents. Type 3 IMTs are recommended for States and large metropolitan areas with multiple jurisdictions and mutual aid agreements (such as the DHS Urban Area Security Initiative locales). Members of Type 3 IMTs are appointed by a state or metropolitan authority having jurisdiction, and respond as a team to support or assist a local IMT at major incidents that may have national implications.

For further information regarding the IMT efforts, or any USFA program, visit www.usfa.fema.gov.

On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.