3.4 A Prototype Emergency Response Meteorologist Taskbook

Thursday, 10 January 2013: 2:15 PM
Ballroom E (Austin Convention Center)
Jon W. Zeitler, NOAA/NWS, New Braunfels, TX; and R. J. Davis

Specialized meteorological support has provided critical information for effective action in extreme events such as wildfires and routine operations such as air traffic management for decades. More recently, the emergency management community has recognized the benefits of detailed, impact-based meteorological data, forecasts, and briefings during the preparation, response, and recovery related to major weather events such as hurricanes, floods and winter storms. Even during periods of relatively benign weather emergency managers have requested decision support for large gatherings of people such as sporting events and festivals.

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards management approach that can be used for incidents of any type, scope, and complexity. Under the ICS incident types are based on the level of complexity ranging from Type I (most complex) to Type V (least complex) and resources are similarly typed based on their capabilities. National Weather Service Incident Meteorologists (IMETs) are classified as a Type I resource, able to support major national level incidents. It follows that support for regional incidents, preparation for routine activities at large event venues, or response for minor local incidents could be appropriately provided by meteorologists certified as Type II or Type III.

The Austin/San Antonio and Tampa Bay Area National Weather Service Forecast Offices (WFOs) have developed a prototype Emergency Response Meteorologist Taskbook to support training and certification requirements expected for Type II and Type III incident support. The taskbook is based on the ICS-approved Type I IMET Taskbook, but with training and certification matching the less severe and complex requirements of Type II and Type III incidents. Taskbook components include online ICS training from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, resident ICS courses delivered by state and local officials, demonstration of technological proficiency, and exercise or actual incident operations experience at Area Commands or Emergency Operations Centers. Volunteer forecasters and management staff from both WFOs worked through the taskbook from Fall 2011 to September 30, 2012. Results from these activities will be presented, along with comments and suggestions from partners and ICS trainers.

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