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Incident Support Team


The mobilization and use of US&R task forces provides a significant capability for disaster
response and mitigation. The FEMA US&R IST provides Federal, state, and local officials
with technical assistance in the deployment and use of ESF #9 resources through advice,
incident command assistance, and management and coordination of US&R task forces. It
also obtains ESF #9 logistic support.

For further information refer to the IST Operations Manual.


The US&R IST was developed to make a group of highly‐qualified specialists readily
available for rapid assembly and deployment to a disaster area.

The IST must be available to mobilize within two hours of request. IST members are
required to be self‐sufficient for at least 24 hours and prepared for a response assignment
extending as long as 14 days. An IST equipment cache is organized into functional kits and
is available for deployment with the IST. FEMA maintains three strategically situated
caches to supply the IST with communications equipment including the following:

  • Telephones

  • Radios

  • Computers

  • Printers

  • Administrative office supplies

The IST Logistics Section Chief maintains a copy of the cache inventory to facilitate
ordering and provide accountability. IST members request any additional logistics support
through the IST Logistics Section Chief upon arrival at the IST base of operations.

As previously indicated, when a significant event or disaster occurs, an IMAT from the
affected FEMA region, or one of the three national IMATS, will deploy to the affected state
or states to join with state emergency management personnel to coordinate Federal
assistance. The IMAT provides direction to the IST through the ESF #9 Group Supervisor
assigned to the IST. The IST ESF #9 Group Supervisor reports to the IMAT Operations
Section Chief or designee assigned to the affected area.

Development Criteria

The US&R IST was developed and organized to be:


  • Consistent with the terminology and organizational structure of the NRF and NIMS;

  • Representative of the primary disciplines involved in US&R operations;

  • Comprised of sufficient personnel to provide initial assistance at RRCCs, state EOCs, IMATs, JFOs, and local EOCs (may be augmented as necessary);

  • Deployable within two hours of activation and have personnel available for 24‐hour coverage at state EOC/JFO and other facilities for ESF #9

Incident Support Team (Initial)

The initial element of the IST represents FEMA's efforts to establish on‐site management
and support for the anticipated or actual arrival of one or more US&R task forces at a
disaster or at a significant or planned event.

The IST is generally deployed with an initial minimum complement of the 20 positions and
30 personnel shown in Figure

Incident Support Team (Expanded)

An IST generally mobilizes with an initial complement of 30 personnel. As the complexity
and duration of an event escalates and/or as the duties and responsibilities of the team
expand, augmenting sections of the IST may become necessary. Positions may be filled
with two or more persons each, depending on the present IST deployed and the need for
24‐hour coverage as reflected in an RRCC or IMAT/JFO request. If additional staffing is
required, the IST leader will request any necessary personnel through the IST ESF #9
Group Supervisor.

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