Communications Unit Training & Recognition Program
During all-hazards emergency response operations, radio communication among multiple jurisdictions and disciplines—including law enforcement, fire service, and emergency medical service—is essential. Trained communications professionals working to achieve interoperability among responding agencies can significantly improve communications during an emergency incident.
The mission of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) is to unify and lead the nationwide effort to improve emergency communications capabilities across all levels of government. As such, OEC has empowered each state to develop its own All-Hazards Communications Unit training and recognition programs to strengthen and develop emergency responder skills and competencies.
Arizona Regional Communications Unit Recognition Program
On September 18, 2012, the Public Safety Communications Advisory Commission approved the revised procedure for requesting Arizona Regional recognition for Communications Unit positions that have an associated DHS approved curriculum and All-Hazards Position Taskbook.
This procedure applies to those individuals who meet the recommended DHS guidelines for eligibility, training and experience for All-Hazards Communications Unit positions and are requesting Arizona Regional recognition in such positions. It differs from the procedure followed for Red Card certification by the Arizona State Wildfire Qualification Review Committee under National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) guidelines.
Instructions for submitting applications for Arizona Regional recognition or renewal and the associated forms are included below:
Arizona Regional All-Hazards Communications Unit Recognition Procedure Approved September 18, 2012.
NIMS Communications Unit Workgroup Policies and Procedures Approved August 14, 2012.
Arizona Regional All-Hazards Communications Unit Recognition Agency Certification Form
Arizona Regional All-Hazards Communications Unit Recognition Agency Certification Form - Fillable Form
Arizona Regional All-Hazards Communications Unit Recognition Submission Checklist
Arizona Regional All-Hazards Communications Unit Recognition Submission Checklist - Fillable Form
All-Hazards Position Training
OEC has worked with emergency responders to develop a series of federally recommended training courses for All-Hazards Communications Unit positions. The training courses—which require prerequisite training and public safety communications background, skills, knowledge, and experience—are led by federally recognized instructors and provide NIMS compliant instruction to establish core competencies and train qualified emergency responders to serve in specific positions during all-hazards emergency operations.
COML – The All-Hazards Communications Unit Leader (COML) class trains emergency responders on how to serve as Communications Unit Leaders during emergency operations. COML training will qualify emergency responders to lead ICS communications units if they possess the necessary prerequisites, including knowledge of the following: local communications; communications systems; and regional, State, and local communications plans. For more information on upcoming classes and prerequisites, please see the COML Training page.
COMT – The All-Hazards Communications Unit Technician (COMT) class trains emergency responders on practices and procedures common to COMTs during all hazards emergency operations. It introduces public safety professionals and support staff to various communications concepts and technologies, including interoperable communications solutions, Land Mobile Radio (LMR) communications, satellite, telephone, data, and computer technologies used in incident response and planned events. For more information about the course and prerequisites, please see the COMT Training page.
Position Taskbooks (PTBs) are an integral part of the "performance based” system Federal agencies have adopted for emergency response training. Each All-Hazards PTB lists the performance requirements (tasks) for the specific position in a format that allows a trainee to be evaluated against written guidelines. Trainees must demonstrate or perform successfully all tasks listed in the PTB to become certified in the ICS position to which they aspire.
The PTB may only be initiated once the student has completed the All-Hazards formal classroom training; however, a trainee may include experience within the three (3) years prior to the completion of the training course. Further, candidates have three (3) years following completion of training course to complete the PTB.
Evaluation and confirmation of the individual’s performance of all the tasks may involve more than one evaluator and can occur on incidents, in classroom simulations, and in other work situations, such as planned events and exercises. Successful performance of all tasks, as observed and recorded by one or more qualified evaluators, will result in a recommendation that the trainee be certified in that position.
All-Hazards COML Task Book - Arizona Version: January 2012
All-Hazards COML Task Book - Fillable Form - Arizona Version: January 2012
SAMPLE All-Hazards COML Task Book
All-Hazards COMT Task Book - Arizona Version: August 2012
All-Hazards COMT Task Book - Fillable Form - Arizona Version: August 2012
Frequently Asked Questions
All-Hazards Communications Unit Resource List
As a result of the Arizona Regional All-Hazards Communications Unit Recognition Program, the Arizona Regional All-Hazards Communications Unit Resource List was created with the intent of documenting and making available a directory of individuals who have been recognized at the Arizona Regional level by the National Incident Management System Communications Unit (NIMS-CU) Workgroup of the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC). The individuals on the Resource List have been certified by their agencies as having met all requirements for qualification in the position(s) indicated and that such qualification has been issued.
During an incident, if the need arises for resources that cannot be obtained locally, assistance may be rendered through mutual aid, a formal agreement among emergency responders to lend assistance across jurisdictional boundaries when required. In accordance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS), requests should be submitted using your agency’s standardized resource-ordering procedures.
Arizona Regional All-Hazards Communications Unit Resource List As of: January, 2013
Recommended All-Hazards Communications Unit Personnel Deployment Procedures (Within Arizona)
During an incident, if the need arises for resources that cannot be obtained locally, assistance may be rendered through mutual aid, a formal agreement among emergency responders to lend assistance across jurisdictional boundaries when required. In accordance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS), requests should be submitted using standardized resource-ordering procedures.
The Arizona Mutual Aid Compact (AZMAC) defines the emergency management terms and procedures which will be used among participating parties in the State for dispatching mutual aid assistance to any affected area in accordance with local ordinances, resolutions, emergency plans or agreements. The list of AZMAC signatories are available online.
In the case of All-Hazards Communications Unit personnel, it is recommended that the following processes outlined in the AZMAC be followed (Note: “Providing Party” means the Jurisdiction providing aid in the event of an emergency; “Requesting Party” means the Jurisdiction requesting aid in the event of an emergency.):
Section 5: Procedures for Requesting Assistance
“A Requesting Party, which needs assistance in excess of its own resources and existing automatic mutual aid or local mutual aid due to an emergency is authorized to request assistance from any party to this Compact. However, when making such requests, consideration shall be given to, and requests made, based on, but not limited to, the geographical proximity of other jurisdictions with that of the jurisdiction requesting assistance. All requests for assistance from the State must come from the Requesting Party’s county…”
Section 6: Providing Party’s Assessment of Availability of Resources and Ability to Render Assistance.
“Subject to the terms of this Compact, the Providing Party shall make reasonable efforts to assist the Requesting Party. In all instances, the Providing Party shall render such mutual aid as it is able to provide consistent with its own service needs at the time, taking into consideration the Providing Party’s existing commitments within its own jurisdiction. The Providing Party shall be the sole judge of what mutual aid it has available to furnish to the Requesting Party pursuant to this Compact.”
Additionally, the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association (AFCA), through cooperation with the Arizona Department of Fire, Building and Life Safety (ADFBLS), Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM), Arizona State Forestry Division (ASFD), the Arizona Fire District Association (AFDA), and the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona (PFFA), developed the Fire Service Mutual Aid Plan to provide immediate response resources for all-hazard emergencies.
The Fire Service Mutual Aid Plan is the initial activation and mobilization plan prior to a declaration of emergency. The plan is also intended to complement the State of Arizona Emergency Response and Recovery Plan (SERRP). The Arizona Fire Mutual Aid System was created to provide for the systematic mobilization, deployment, organization, and management of Arizona local fire-related resources in order to provide assistance in mitigating the effects of emergencies and disasters throughout Arizona and the nation, when so requested.
The following policies form the basis of the Fire Service Mutual Aid Plan:
- The basic tenets of emergency planning are self-help, automatic aid and/or mutual aid and specialty response systems.
- The AFCA recognizes the SERRP and the AZMAC to be guiding policies for response to incidents that have exceeded automatic and mutual aid agreements.
- The initial operational period is defined as the first 12 hours. Each agency shall determine its available resources and if any resources can be committed for an extended period of time if requested.
- Contributing agencies should anticipate that their resources will be committed for a minimum of the first operational period.
- Reimbursement will be in accordance with AZMAC. For Wildfire operational and reimbursement guidelines refer to ASFD agreements. Units must be ordered through Arizona State Forrester.
Arizona COML Training Program
Arizona COMT Training Program
Arizona Communications Unit Training Coordination Procedure
The Communications Unit Leader (COML): A Valuable Resource for Incident Commanders
Communications Unit Leader Implementation Best Practices
All-Hazards COML Training
National Incident Management System (NIMS)
OEC All-Hazards Communications Unit Position Training Courses
For more information, please contact the PSIC Office.