Level 3 Field Operations Guide (fog) or Handbook

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), developed the National Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Response System to support the Emergency Support Function (ESF) #9 (Urban Search and Rescue) of the Federal Response Plan. Within this framework, resources are mobilized to respond to structural collapse and other incidents nationwide.

    1. Document Purpose

The DHS/FEMA US&R Field Operations Guide (FOG) has been developed to support response resources during training and on missions. The FOG is a compilation and summary of important strategic and tactical information, developed procedures, and reference material.
The FOG is an operational guide for ESF #9 resources, that reflects standardized activities and procedures and promotes safe and effective search and rescue operations.
    1. Concept of Operations

      1. Incident Support Team (IST)

The DHS/FEMA US&R IST provides Federal, State, and local officials with technical assistance for command, control, and logistical support of assigned US&R resources.
IST members will not normally assemble prior to travel to the assigned location. When the IST assembles, the following issues shall be addressed:
[ ] Assemble for an initial briefing by the IST Leader or immediate supervisor.

[ ] Assist with the movement and loading of the IST Administrative/Support Kit.
[ ] Receive appropriate supplies and equipment (portable radio, cellular phone, etc.).

In Transit

[ ] Review latest disaster related information as it becomes available.
[ ] Review the information pertinent to position, including position description, operational checklist, and operational and safety procedures.
[ ] Discuss and coordinate anticipated logistical requirements (i.e., transportation, lodging, etc.) prior to arrival at the assigned location.
[ ] Take full advantage of available travel time for rest prior to arrival.
Arrival and Check-In
[ ] Notify Emergency Support Team (EST) upon arrival.
[ ] Check-in with IST Planning Section.
[ ] Obtain a medical screening and complete a medical information sheet.
[ ] Report to supervisor and obtain a briefing.
On-site Operations
[ ] Coordinate operational objectives with local incident command and Federal response organization.
[ ] Identify and coordinate operational mission objectives and expectations.
[ ] Identify and coordinate logistical support requirements for US&R resources.
[ ] Ensure reliable communications between assigned resources, local authorities, and appropriate Federal agencies.

      1. Task Force (TF)

Arrival at the Assigned Locality/Jurisdiction

  • Task Force Leaders (TFLs) shall obtain an initial briefing from the IST or local authorities (if the IST is not in place), including:

  • The current local incident management organization and reporting requirements.

  • Physical location of the Incident Command Post (ICP)

  • Chain of command and coordination contacts

  • Planning/briefing meeting schedule and location

  • Current situation

  • Operational issues

  • Local medical system issues

  • Communications issues

  • Transportation issues

  • Logistical support issues

  • Safety, health, and security issues

  • Media issues.

US&R capabilities and limitations should be conveyed to local authorities supported by the US&R Fact Sheets. The initial briefing should result in a clear understanding of expectations between local authorities and US&R resources.

Establishing the Base of Operations (BoO)

  • Upon arrival, a team should identify an appropriate location for a BoO (coordinate with IST and local authorities). Recommended team members include:

  • One TFL

  • One Planning Team Manager

  • One Logistics Manager

  • One Communications Specialist.

  • Considerations for the BoO include:

  • Travel distance to and from the operational worksite

  • Transportation and access routes

  • Terrain and elevation

  • Facilities for personnel and cache sheltering

  • Communications

  • Safety/security

  • Adequate space and available infrastructure including:

  • Equipment cache set-up and maintenance

  • Task Force Command Post

  • Medical treatment area

  • Food preparation and feeding area

  • Toilet and sanitation area

  • Helicopter landing zones (optional).

Operational Period Scheduling and Rotations

Incident scenario will determine initial commitment of resources and length of operational periods. The following three options could apply:

  • It may be necessary to commit all TF personnel to the initial life-saving requirements (blitz).

  • It may be necessary to commit some percentage of resources to life-saving activities, while the remaining personnel could be used to establish the BoO.

  • For sustained operations, an alternating work-cycle may be employed. Some percentage of resources will be assigned work while others are resting.


II.National US&R Response System Organization

This chapter identifies the US&R response organization and the relationships with other Federal response entities.

Figure II-1: ERT Organization

Figure II-2: Incident Support Team – Advance

Figure II-3 reflects an example of an IST organization expanded to meet the incident needs. The actual configuration will be determined by each incident’s requirements.

Figure II-3: Incident Support Team Expanded

Figure II-4: Type I Task Force Organization

Figure II-5: Type III Task Force Organization

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