National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Helicopter Crewmember

HECM decorative banner: photos depicting HECM position. HECM Position Description: The Helicopter Crewmember (HECM) is responsible for supporting the ground-based operations of the helicopter mission in a rapidly changing, high-risk wildland fire environment. The HECM is a member of a helicopter module and reports to the Helicopter Manager (HMGB).

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HECM Incident Position Description

The Helicopter Crewmember (HECM) serves as a member of a helicopter crew, assisting the Helicopter Manager (HMGB) and/or the Helibase Manager (HEBM) in the performance and completion of helicopter missions. The HECM reports to the HMGB or HEBM and works in the Aviation functional area.
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Leadership Level 1, Follower (Provide Action)

  • For additional information review Level 1 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.
  • Review Base Operations Plan and obtain initial briefing from supervisor.

Build the Team

  • Conduct self in a professional manner.
  • Establish and maintain positive interpersonal and interagency working relationships.
  • Use Incident Command System (ICS) terminology, organization, and command structure.
  • Participate in proficiency checks and drills.
  • Calculate amount and type of additional resources required and obtain through established ordering procedures. Ensures adequate staffing is in place for anticipated or expected activity.
  • Establish and communicate chain of command, reporting procedures, risk management processes, and radio frequency management.

Supervise and Direct Work Assignments

  • Model leadership values and principles. Provide positive influence. Emphasize teamwork.
  • Establish and communicate objectives, priorities, work assignments, and performance expectations.
  • Identify, analyze, and use relevant situational information to make more 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 daily operational objectives and performance standards are met.

Perform Helicopter Crewmember-Specific Duties

  • Assist HMGB or HEBM in performing daily inventory checks and in ensuring operational readiness of helicopter unit.
  • Perform tool, equipment, and vehicle maintenance, and refurbishment.
  • Perform facility and cache maintenance.
  • Brief passengers before takeoff as per NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461, Helicopter Passenger Briefing checklist.
  • Prepare internal and/or external cargo loads.
  • Follow proper procedures for loading/unloading helicopter.
  • Marshall helicopters.
  • Prepare landing areas or helispot.
  • Construct helispot or landing areas.
  • Manage helispot.
  • Manage dipsite.

Communicate and Coordinate

  • Communicate using clear text.
  • Obtain daily or more frequent briefings from supervisor.
  • Communicate effectively using multichannel radios. Prepare and program radios for assignment. Use plain language and ICS terminology.
  • Ensure assigned radios are functional prior to commencing daily operations.
  • Maintain radio or message links with appropriate incident functions.
  • Follow established processes and chain of command for collecting, producing, and distributing information.
  • Communicate changing conditions to supervisor.
  • Receive briefing from pilot prior to cargo operations.
  • Brief pilot prior to cargo operations.
  • Participate in functional area briefings and After Action Reviews (AAR).

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.
  • Plan for medical emergencies. Ensure that assigned resources are prepared to execute the Medical Plan (ICS 206 WF). Ensure familiarity with medical responders, communication procedures, and transportation plan. Manage the medical emergency based on procedures stated in the Incident Action Plan (IAP), the Medical Incident Report, or other relevant guidelines.
  • Participate in safety sessions and critiques.
  • Provide preflight safety briefings to passengers.
  • Ensure own and others’ safety and welfare in all aspects of job.
  • Report hazards, injuries, incidents, and accidents to supervisor immediately.
  • Verify base and/or incident emergency and safety procedures.


  • Prepare manifest for personnel/cargo.
  • Complete, authorize, ensure timeliness of, and route as required:


  • Follow demobilization instructions from supervisor.
  • Ensure incident and agency demobilization procedures and work/rest standards are followed.


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