National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Food Unit Leader

FDUL decorative banner: photos depicting FDUL position. FDUL Position Description: The Food Unit Leader (FDUL) is responsible for determining feeding requirements at all incident facilities and for menu planning, determining cooking facilities required, food preparation, serving, providing potable water, and general maintenance of the food service areas.

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FDUL Incident Position Description

The Food Unit Leader (FDUL) is responsible for determining feeding requirements at all wildland fire incident facilities including providing potable water, planning menus, and determining the required cooking facilities, food preparation, serving, and general maintenance of the food service areas. The FDUL may supervise Camp Crews and reports to the Logistics Section Chief (LSC) or Logistics Service Branch Director (SVBD) and works in the Logistics functional area.
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Leadership Level 3, Leader of People (Develop Intent)

  • For additional information review Level 3 description, expected behaviors and knowledge, suggested development goals, and self-study opportunities.

Prepare and Mobilize

  • Ensure individual readiness.
  • Gather critical information pertinent to the assignment.
  • Travel to and check in at assignment.
  • Check in with incident supervisor and/or dispatch when arriving at the incident.
  • Review Incident Action Plan (IAP) and obtain briefing, objectives, and intent from supervisor.
  • Obtain briefing from previous shift/assignment FDUL as necessary.

Build the Team

  • Assemble and validate readiness of assigned personnel and equipment.
  • Establish and communicate chain of command, reporting procedures, risk management processes, and radio frequency management.
  • Establish a common operating picture with supervisors and subordinates.
  • Participate in operational briefings as directed.
  • Brief assigned personnel.
  • Identify assigned resources and maintain accountability.

Supervise and Direct Work Assignments

  • Establish and communicate objectives, priorities, work assignments, and performance expectations.
  • Identify, analyze, and use relevant situational information to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions.
  • Adjust actions based on changing information and evolving situation awareness. Develop and implement contingency plans. Communicate changing conditions to assigned resources and supervisor.
  • Ensure incident objectives and performance standards are met.
  • Monitor performance and provide immediate and regular feedback to assigned personnel.

Perform Food Unit Leader-Specific Duties

  • Develop plans to ensure continuing food service when a Mobile Food Services unit is not used or under adverse conditions.
  • Perform project inspector duties for the administration of the National Mobile Food Services contract.
  • Review Delegation of Authority for FDUL duties.
  • Review Food Unit layout with contractor’s representative to determine needs and/or changes.
  • Review and approve menus to determine if menu content, variety, and serving sizes meet contract specifications.
  • Obtain feedback from incident personnel on food service, complete evaluations, discuss with contractor, and disburse copies to appropriate personnel.
  • Gather information for daily meals and provide contractor with meal scheduling, number of meals ordered, and actual meals served (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
  • Monitor refrigerated unit for proper temperature, proper storage, and expiration dates of stored items.
  • Maintain appropriate inventory of lunches to meet lunch meal requirements while avoiding a higher than needed inventory resulting in disposal of expired lunches.
  • Assure service line serving temperatures meet requirements.
  • Ensure all assigned resources wash hands before entering service line.
  • Coordinate delivery of meals to remote locations with Ground Support assuring that time/temperature and proper food handling standards are met. (e.g., hot/cold food containers, sack lunches, other meal storage containers).
  • Inspect for safe food handling, preparation, holding, serving, and storage practices.
  • Ensure mobile food service unit provides equipment and supplies specified in contract.
  • Review kitchen unit contract, including past performance evaluations, quality control plans, and equipment specifications.
  • Conduct periodic inspections to ensure quality and quantity specifications of meals.
  • Review, approve, and submit invoices to appropriate payment office.
  • Ensure requested time frames are met.
  • Ensure that special meal requirements are recognized and met.
  • Ensure appropriate health and safety measures are met.
  • Coordinate with Safety and Medical Unit to receive reports of illnesses that could be related to food service.
    • Coordinate with contractor(s), Safety Officers (SOFs), and other personnel to provide any documentation or facilitate any inspections for the investigation if needed.
    • Contact local health authority and request assistance, if necessary.
  • Provide safe food handling and sanitation rules to personnel at base/camp(s), staging areas, and other incident feeding locations.
  • Ensure all inappropriate actions involving contractor personnel are reported to the Contracting Officer or Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) using appropriate procedures.

Communicate and Coordinate

  • Follow established processes and chain of command for collecting, producing, and distributing information.
  • Ensure clear understanding of expectations and timely communication within and across Incident Command System (ICS) functional areas and chain of command.
  • Establish communications and exchange necessary briefings/information with the following:
    • Support resources
    • Adjacent resources
    • Supervisor
    • Other ICS functional areas
  • Communicate effectively using multichannel radios. Prepare and program radios for assignment. Use plain language and ICS terminology.
  • Conduct and/or participate in After Action Reviews (AAR).
  • Prepare unit narrative and submit to LSC if applicable.
  • Prepare information for briefings and meetings.

Manage Risk

  • Apply the Risk Management Process as stated in the  NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461:
    • Identify Hazards
    • Assess Hazards
    • Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions
    • Implement Controls
    • Supervise and Evaluate
  • Monitor for signs and symptoms of fatigue, illness, or injury. Mitigate appropriately.
  • Identify potential conflicts and resolve within the same operational period, if possible.



  • Anticipate demobilization, identify excess resources, coordinate with operations/planning sections to prepare demobilization schedule, and communicate with supervisor.
  • Demobilize mobile food unit in accordance with national policy.
  • Plan for demobilization. Brief assigned resources on demobilization procedures and responsibilities. Ensure incident and agency demobilization procedures and work/rest driving standards are followed.
  • Return equipment and supplies to appropriate unit.
  • Complete demobilization checkout process before being released from the incident.
  • Upon demobilization, report status to home unit including reassignment or estimated time of arrival (ETA) to home unit.
  • During transfer of command:
    • Ensure continuity of operations.
    • Exchange critical safety information.
    • Communicate transfer of authority through established chain of command.


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