B. Description of System
C. Certification & Re-certification
D. Currency Req'ts.
E. Required Training / Prerequisite
F. Additional Training
G. Fitness Standards
H. Incident Complexity
I. Review and Update
J. Position Categories
K. Type 1 & Type 2 IMT's
L. ICS, Skill and Expanded Dispatch Position Qualifications
Appendix A: Position
Task Book Admin.
Appendix B: Qual. Flow
Appendix C: Training
Appendix D: Glossary
An Adobe PDF version of this document (117 pages, 213 kb) can
be downloaded from the NWCG Publications
Management System (PMS) website.
Prescribed Fire Qualification System Guide
PMS 310-1 (NFES 1414)
The Wildland and Prescribed Fire Qualification System Guide (PMS 310-1),
developed under the sponsorship of the National Wildfire Coordinating
Group (NWCG), provides guidance to participating agencies and organizations.
This guidance is given for the establishment of minimum standards for
wildland firefighting and prescribed fire personnel. Those personnel
meeting the established standards are qualified for mobilization beyond
their geographic area.
Personnel who are certified in a position prior to the implementation
of this revision, may retain certification at the discretion of their
agency. To qualify in any other position, the individual must meet the
standards identified herein.
This system is designed to:
- Establish minimum interagency training, skills, knowledge, experience
and physical fitness standards for wildland and prescribed fire positions
which all participating agencies have agreed to meet for national
mobilization purposes. Standards may be augmented to meet
specific needs within an agency, but the augmentation cannot be imposed
by an agency on its cooperators meeting the minimums outlined in this
- For wildland fire: Allow cooperating agencies to
jointly agree upon training, knowledge and skills, experience and
physical fitness standards required to meet fire management needs.
- For prescribed fire: Establish minimum qualifications
for personnel involved in burns which are of moderate complexity or
higher (see section G, “Fitness Standards”) and on which resources
of more than one agency are utilized. For burns of low complexity
agency and local cooperators determine qualifications.
Personnel mobilized beyond their geographic area must meet the established
qualification standards in this guide. Any organization or agency providing
resources to fill national interagency requests for incidents or multi-agency
prescribed fires of moderate or higher complexity will be expected to
meet the minimum national requirements described in this guide.
PMS 310-1 recognizes the ability of cooperating agencies at the local
level to jointly define certification and qualification standards. Agencies
dealing with other than wildland and prescribed fire incidents may want
to consider using PMS 310-1 guidelines as the framework for establishing
certification and qualifications.
B. DESCRIPTION OF THE SYSTEM
The Wildland and Prescribed Fire Qualification System is a “performance
based” qualification system. In this system, the primary criterion for
qualification is individual performance as: observed by an evaluator
certified in that position; using approved standards outlined in Appendix
A, Position Task Book Administration, of this guide; and documented
in an approved position task book.
In a performance based system:
- Qualification is based upon demonstrated performance as measured
on wildland fires, prescribed fires, other incidents, normal job activities,
in simulated exercises or classroom activities.
- Personnel who have learned skills from sources other than actual
performance on wildland and prescribed fires or NWCG curricula, such
as agency specific training programs (structural fire, law enforcement,
search and rescue, etc.), may not be required to complete specific
courses in order to qualify in an NWCG position.
- The components of the wildland and prescribed fire qualification
system are as follows:
- Position Task Books (PTB) contain all critical
tasks which are required to perform the job. The tasks in each
PTB have been established by experts from all NWCG agencies and
geographical areas of the United States, tested and approved by
NWCG. PTBs are in a format which allows documentation of a trainee’s
ability to perform each task. Tasks pertaining to tactical decision
making and safety are flagged and require position performance
on a wildland and/or prescribed fire. Remaining tasks may be evaluated
through other means such as simulation, or other emergency and
non-emergency work. Successful completion of all required tasks
of the position, as determined by an evaluator(s), will be the
basis for recommending certification.
The following positions utilize the same PTB for the Type
1 and Type 2 levels (ICT1/2, PSC1/2, OSC1/2, LSC1/2, FSC1/2,
SOF1/2, IOF1/2, HEB1/2, RXM1/2, RXB1/2). For those positions
having the same PTB, the trainee will be required to obtain
and complete an initiated PTB for each complexity level.
Example: A trainee completes a PTB for ICT2, receives certification
from the home unit and becomes qualified in that position.
When the home unit makes a determination that the individual,
with adequate experience and required training, is ready for
advancement to the ICT1 position, the home unit initiates
a new ICT1/2 PTB. Crossing out ICT2 on the PTB cover identifies
that the trainee is now working to complete the ICT1 position
IMPORTANT NOTE: Trainee requirements include completion of
all required training courses and prerequisite
experience prior to obtaining an initiated PTB. The
only exceptions are those Command and General Staff positions
that include S-420, S-520, and S-620 as required training. PTBs
and the qualification process can be initiated for those positions
prior to attendance and completion of these three courses. This
will allow trainees to gain experience that will prepare them
for passing these advanced courses.
Training courses or job aids identified as Additional
Training Which Supports Development of Knowledge and Skills
(see Section F, “Additional Training Which Supports Development
of Knowledge and Skills”) contain the knowledge and skills
required of a position. An individual should not be given a
assignment if additional knowledge and skills required to perform
the tasks of a position are not first obtained, either through
formal training or other methods.
- Training courses provide the specific knowledge
and skills required to perform tasks identified in the PTB. This
provides a direct link between training and job performance. Required
training has been held to the minimum required to provide
for safe operations on wildland and prescribed fires. Although
most training courses are not “required”, all courses
are available and considered to be a primary means by which personnel
can prepare for position performance evaluation.
- Job Aids exist to facilitate development where
there is no developed training course and to provide a ready reference
for performance on the job. Individuals must possess the knowledge
and skills to perform job aid tasks.
- Agency Certification and documentation is the
responsibility of the employing agency certifying that the individual
is qualified to perform in a specific position. Individuals are
responsible for providing proof of qualification on an incident.
Proof of qualification is not required for the following positions:
Advanced Firefighter/Squad Boss (FFT1), Firefighter (FFT2), Helicopter
Crewmember (HECM), Display Processor (DPRO), Status/Check-In Recorder
(SCKN), Personnel Time Recorder (PTRC), Equipment Time Recorder
(EQTR) and Radio Operator (RADO). It is the responsibility of
each agency to document those qualified in these positions.
Each agency is responsible for selecting trainees, ensuring proper
use of position task books (see Appendix A), and certification of
The individual is responsible for completing training courses,
completing the appropriate PTB, and showing proof of qualifications
on an incident.
The incident training and qualification process on wildland or
prescribed fire incidents is the responsibility of the local hosting
agency. Documentation of training and experience for contractors
is the responsibility of the contractor (see below in Section C,
“Certification and Re-certification”).
The Certification Flow Chart on the following page provides an
overview of the qualification and certification process. For more
specific information concerning roles and responsibilities, task
book administration, and application of the qualification and certification
process, see Appendix A of this guide.
C. CERTIFICATION AND RE-CERTIFICATION
Each agency is responsible for annually certifying qualifications
of its personnel based upon the requirements of this guide and agency
specific requirements supplementing this guide. This responsibility
includes evaluation of personnel for recertification in cases where
position qualifications have been lost as a result of a lack of current
A key component in the certification or re-certification process is
the subjective evaluation by the appropriate agency official of an individual’s
capability to perform in a position. Completion of required
training and experience requirements alone does not guarantee that an
individual is qualified to perform in a position.
The quality of experiences gained in a given position should be closely
evaluated when making a determination for advancement to the next higher
position, to a different position, or for re-certification. The quality
of experience may relate to the number of fuel types in which an individual
has performed, size of the incident in terms of personnel and equipment,
the number of assignments, or complexity of operations to include the
different types of resources managed.
This guide recommends that more than one trainee assignment be experienced
before certification; and that more than one assignment be experienced
after completing the PTB and receiving certification before an individual
begins movement to the next higher level. When recertification is necessary
due to a lack of currency, it is recommended that the individual experience
a minimum of three operational periods, under the supervision of an
evaluator, before re-certification is granted.
However, certification and re-certification is a determination that
each individual agency must make based on task evaluations, position
performance evaluations and their own judgement of the quality of an
Agencies shall not certify private contractors except
where formal agreements are in place. Clauses in contracts are to include
stipulations that specify the service provider must meet the standards
found in this guide.
D. CURRENCY REQUIREMENTS
For the positions identified in this guide, the maximum time allowed
for maintaining currency is three (3) years for air operations and expanded
dispatch positions and five (5) years for all others.
Currency can be maintained in the following ways:
- By successful performance in the position qualified for within
the given time frame.
- By successful performance in a higher position(s) for which that
position is a prerequisite, providing the individual was previously
qualified in that position.
- By successful performance in a position that is identified in this
guide (see Section L, “ICS, Skill and Expanded Dispatch Position
Qualifications”) as OTHER POSITION ASSIGNMENTS THAT
WILL MAINTAIN CURRENCY.
Example: Currency for a Resources Unit Leader can be maintained
by successful performance as a Resources Unit Leader within five
years; by successful performance as a Planning Section Chief Type
2 within five years; by successful performance as a Demobilization
Unit Leader or Status/ Check-In Recorder within five years.
E. REQUIRED TRAINING/PREREQUISITE EXPERIENCE
Required training (as identified in Section L and Appendix C of this
guide) and prerequisite experience cannot be challenged. The process
of demonstrating the
abilities to perform the position is the completion of a position task
book. Agency equivalent courses may be substituted for required courses
when learning and performance objectives meet or exceed required course
learning and performance objectives.
F. ADDITIONAL TRAINING WHICH SUPPORTS DEVELOPMENT OF
KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
Additional training which supports development of knowledge and skills
are training courses or job aids (as identified in Section L and Appendix
C of this guide) which can help to support a position performance assignment.
The knowledge and skills necessary for successful completion of the
tasks in a position task book are provided in the identified courses,
but may also be acquired in a variety of ways, including on-the-job
training, work experience, and identified formal training as determined
by one’s agency.
An individual must have an opportunity to acquire the knowledge and
skills required to perform the tasks of a position before accepting
a position performance assignment. It is the responsibility of the individual
agency to ensure that each trainee has the opportunity to acquire the
knowledge and skills necessary for position performance.
G. FITNESS STANDARDS
Personnel must meet established physical fitness standards for wildland
and prescribed fire assignments (see Section L for the physical fitness
category of a particular position). Agencies have the latitude to determine
the method of evaluating the physical fitness level of their personnel.
However, it should be a measurable evaluation process.
The following four categories of physical fitness have been established:
- Arduous. Duties involve field work requiring physical
performance calling for above-average endurance and superior conditioning.
These duties may include an occasional demand for extraordinarily
strenuous activities in emergencies under adverse environmental conditions
and over extended periods of time. Requirements include running, walking,
climbing, jumping, twisting, bending and lifting more than 50 pounds;
the pace of work typically is set by the emergency situation.
- Moderate. Duties involve field work requiring
complete control of all physical faculties and may include considerable
walking over irregular ground, standing for long periods of time,
lifting 25 to 50 pounds, climbing, bending, stooping, quatting, twisting
and reaching. Occasional demands may be required for moderately strenuous
activities in emergencies over long periods of time. Individuals usually
set their own work pace.
- Light. Duties mainly involve office type work
with occasional field activity characterized by light physical exertion
requiring basic good health. Activities may include climbing stairs,
standing, operating a vehicle and long hours of work, as well as some
bending, stooping or light lifting. Individuals almost always can
govern the extent and pace of their physical activity.
- None. Duties are normally performed in a controlled
environment, such as an incident base or camp. For any position identified
in this guide with a fitness level of “None” or any technical
specialist positions who have the need to be on the fireline for non-suppression
tasks, the required fitness level shall be “Light.”