Communications Specialist

Summary of position expectations

  • Installing, operating, and maintaining the task force communications systems including two-way radio, satellite, telephone, internet, GPS and networks during incidents
  • Maintaining accountability, preventive maintenance, and minor repairs of communications equipment and keeping the cache in an operational state at all times
  • Assessing overall communications needs, obtaining frequencies, and developing the task force incident communications plan (ICS 205) as part of the tactical action plan
  • Keeping the Task Force Leader and Logistics Manager informed of the capabilities and/or limitations of incident communications
  • Coordinating communications with other entities, task forces, and the Incident Support Team (IST) Communications Unit Leader
  • Adhering to all safety procedures
  • Maintaining appropriate records and reports
  • Developing requests for replacement or repair for consumable, inoperative, lost, damaged, or destroyed items
  • Operating as an IST communications center dispatcher


  • Physical Training Walk: Members must be able to walk 2 miles within 40 minutes carrying a thirty-pound pack (tested annually)
  • Medical Clearance: Members must be cleared by Medical Staff (renew every 3 years)


  • Mechanical Skills and basic electronic hand tool usage
  • Experience with two way radio equipment
  • Medical Clearance: Members must be cleared by Medical Staff (renew every 3 years)

Required General Training 

Complete prior to application (no cost):

Complete once accepted to the team (cost covered by Task Force):

  • Water Rescue Awareness
  • FEMA National US&R Response System Orientation – Computer-Based Portion
  • Blood-Borne Pathogen Training
  • Critical Incident Stress Awareness
  • CPR License (renew as needed)
  • Confined Space Search and Rescue Awareness
  • Structural Collapse Search and Rescue Awareness

Complete during New Member Orientation (cost covered by Task Force):

  • FEMA National US&R Response System Orientation- instructor-Led
  • First Responder Operations Level for Hazardous Materials (renew annually)
  • Respiratory Protection Training and Fit Test (renew annually)
  • FEMA US&R Enhanced Operations in the Contaminated Environment – Instructor-Led

Paperwork Requirements

After acceptance onto the Task Force, you will need to have the following documents on file:

  • Memorandum of Understanding (renew every 3 years)
  • Application for Federal Employment
  • Immunization Record
  • Signed Code of Conduct
  • FEMA Transmittal
  • FEMA Affidavit
  • TEEX General Release

Required Position-Specific Training 

  • FEMA US&R GPS Awareness Level
  • FEMA US&R Communications Specialist

Annual Training Requirements 

  • Either an Operational Readiness Exercise (3 days) or a Mobilization Exercise (2 days)
  • 1 Regional Training (1 day)
  • Skill Set/Work Day (12 days offered; 6 days required)
  • Offered monthly for 2-3 days at a time

Training Recommendations

  • Swiftwater Rescue Levels I&II
  • Wide Area Search
  • MGT-314 (If pursuing a leadership role)
  • ICS-300 and ICS-400 (If pursuing a leadership role)
  • FEMA US&R Communications Specialist – Networking Workshop 
  • Incident Communications Technician (COMT)
  • Communications Unit Leader and/or NIMS ICS All-Hazards Position Specific Communications Unit Leader
  • Advanced Communications Specialist Qualification
  • The 2005 or later version of the FEMA US&R Response System Communications Specialist Course, including the Non-Disclosure of Sensitive Information Training

Financial Requirement / Deployment Equipment List

Uniform items and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are provided by the Task Force, items not provided include:

  • Belt
  • US&R Boots
  • Sleeping clothes, Undergarments, and socks
  • Swimmer’s towel and small towel
  • Hygiene kit/Toiletries

The following items are optional for personal protection or comfort:

  • Personal Laptop
  • Multitool
  • Additional bedding options for comfort
  • Wet wipes
  • Personal Hand Tools
  • Other items as desired