Safety Officer Line, SOFR

Position Category: 
Incident Positions
Position Code: 
Functional Area: 
AD Class: 


The Safety Officer (SOFR) is responsible for monitoring and assessing hazardous and unsafe situations, and developing measures for assuring personnel safety.  They analyze proposed and selected strategic alternatives from a safety perspective, ensuring that risk management is a priority consideration in the process. 


  • Ensure the safety, welfare, and accountability of assigned personnel during the entire duration of the incident (air and ground).
  • Identify hazardous situations associated with the incident.  Identifies those risks or hazards with the highest potential for serious accident or injury.
  • Develop and present Incident Action Plan Safety Analysis (ICS 215A) and planning matrix for operational planning meetings.
  • Prepare and present safety briefings for incident resources and Agency Administrators, and cooperators.
  • Review and approve the Medical Plan (ICS 206).
  • Prepare and present the safety message included in the IAP
  • Review Incident Action Plan (IAP) for safety implications.
  • Monitor suppression activities, especially those considered more hazardous, from an on the ground, on the scene position.
  • Perform site visits, those areas within the area of operations, which pose the highest risk to personnel.
  • Determine need, and initiates requests for ordering Line Safety Officers (SOFR).
  • Interact and coordinate with all command and general staff.
  • Use direct intervention to immediately correct a dangerous situation.
  • Participate in planning meetings by identifying risks and proposing risk mitigations.
  • Exercise emergency authority to stop and prevent unsafe acts. 
  • Order and assign safety assistants as needed. 
  • Establish work assignments and performance expectations for assigned SOFR’s.
  • Maintain file for safety documentation and submit safety documentation package.
  • Prepare narrative or special reports as needed.
  • Request assistance and information for safety related services (Health Department, State Emergency Medical Coordinator, Environmental Protection Agency, and/or Department of Transportation).
  • Document identified deficiencies (example: food, potable water supplies…)
  • Review incident demobilization plan to ensure appropriate safety guidelines.
  • Investigate accidents that have occurred within the incident area.
  • Ensure completion of accident investigation reports and initiate follow-up action.
  • Prepare narratives or special reports.
  • Participate in briefings and After Action Reviews (AAR).
  • Maintain Activity Log (ICS 214).

Knowledge Required by the Position:

  • Ability to successfully assume role of Safety Officer and initiate position activities at the appropriate time and commensurate level of fireline or as Command Staff on a Type 3 incident.
  • Ability to gather, update, and apply situational information relevant to the assignment.
  • Ability establish effective relationships with relevant personnel.
  • Knowledge of ICS concepts and principles.
  • Ability to influence, guide, and direct assigned personnel to accomplish objectives and desired outcomes in a rapidly changing, high-risk environment.
  • Ability to model leadership values and principles.
  • Knowledge of risk management principles, ICS-215A processes, safe fireline operations, camp safety requirements, food safety, vehicle safety, etc. to ensure the safety, welfare, and accountability of personnel assigned to the incident.
  • Requisite knowledge and ability to use suitable communication techniques to share relevant information with appropriate personnel on a timely basis to accomplish objectives in a rapidly changing, high-risk environment, influencing immediate, mid, and long term planning, operations, and safety.             
  • Ability to develop and implement plans and gain concurrence of affected agencies and/or the public.
  • Knowledge and ability to identify, analyze, and apply relevant situational information and evaluate actions to complete assignments safely and meet identified objectives. Complete actions within established timeframe.
  • Knowledge and ability to gather, analyze, and validate information pertinent to the incident or event and make recommendations for setting priorities.
  • Prepare clear and concise assessments regarding hazards, hazard behavior, weather, and other relevant events.
  • Anticipate, recognize and mitigate unsafe situations including exercising emergency authority to stop and correct unsafe acts.
  • Knowledge of accident investigation and reporting to investigate accidents and prepare investigation reports.
  • Possess knowledge of aviation operations to ensure compliance with all legal and safety requirements relevant to air operations.

Supervisory Controls

The SOFR works directly under the Incident Commander or SOF1/2.  They are expected to work with little supervision with Division/Group Supervisors or Command and General Staff members. The SOFR is responsible for monitoring and assessing hazardous and unsafe situations, developing measures for assuring personnel safety, and analyzing strategic alternatives from a safety perspective.    


Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation (Red Book), Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), Wildland Fire Incident Management Field Guide, National Interagency Mobilization Guide, Geographic Area Mobilization Guides, NWCG Standards for Interagency Incident Business Management, and various agency specific safety handbooks, OSHA guides, and documents.

Complexity/Scope and Effect

The SOFR may be assigned to a specific Division or may be a member of a Type 3 Incident Management Team or incident command organization that manages initial action incidents with a significant number of resources, and/or an extended attack incident until containment/control is achieved, or an expanding incident until transitioning to a Type 1 or 2 IMT.  The incident may extend into multiple operational periods. The SOFR will be responsible for ensuring the safety, welfare, and accountability of assigned personal as well as watch out for public safety issues that may arise from incident activities.  The SOFR may be required to coordinate with outside agencies like the Department of Transportation or local Health Departments.  The SOFR works independently, with assigned fireline leadership, and with various Command and General staff as well as with ground and air resources.

Personal Contacts/Purpose of Contacts

The SOFR will need to have contact with all resources on a Division or the incident.  They also will need to have contact with Agency Administrators and outside cooperators such as local hospitals, Health Departments, Air Quality, and other public safety administration depending on type and scope of incident.   

Physical Demands/Work Environment

Must be able to pass the Wildland Firefighter Work Capacity Test at the Moderate Level.  

Position Needs/Required Training:

  • Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents (ICS-300)
  • Advanced ICS (ICS-400)
  • Annual Fireline Safety Refresher (RT-130)
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