Heavy Equipment Boss, Single Resource

HEQB decorative banner: Four photos depicting heavy equipment boss position, firefighter watching tractor, backhoe digging, dozer making trail, men standing on dozer. HEQB Position Description: The Heavy Equipment Boss is responsible for the safety and direction of equipment, operator(s), and transport used to suppress, repair and rehabilitate wildland fires. The HEQB supervises a piece of heavy equipment and its operator, and reports to a Strike Team/Task Force Leader or other assigned supervisor. The HEQB works in the Operations functional area.

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HEQB Incident Position Description

The Heavy Equipment Boss is responsible for the safety and direction of equipment, operator(s), and transports used to suppress, repair, and rehabilitate wildland fires. The HEQB supervises a piece of heavy equipment and its operator, and reports to a Strike Team Leader Heavy Equipment (STEQ), Task Force Leader (TFLD), Incident Commander (IC), or other assigned supervisor. The HEQB works in the Operations functional area.
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Prepare and Mobilize

  • Ensure individual readiness.
  • Gather critical information pertinent to the assignment.
  • Travel to and check in at assignment.
  • Review Incident Action Plan (IAP) and obtain briefing, objectives, and intent from supervisor.

Build the Team

  • Identify assigned resource and maintain accountability. Confirm that IAP or relevant plan has assigned resource listed. Report any corrections up chain of command.
  • 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.
  • Obtain and distribute IAPs, other relevant plans, maps, and local area information.
  • Brief assigned personnel using IAP and/or Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461, briefing checklist.

Lead, Supervise, Direct

  • 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 IAP objectives and performance standards are met.
  • Monitor performance and provide immediate and regular feedback to assigned personnel.

Perform Heavy Equipment Boss-Specific Duties

  • Ensure equipment readiness:
    • Perform inspection using Vehicle/Heavy Equipment Inspection Checklist OF-296 or other authorized document.
    • Ensure operator protection systems are in place and functional, including rollover protection system (ROPS), falling object protection system (FOPS), and cab operator protection system (OPS).
    • Ensure compliance with contract and agreement specifications, as well as additional agency-specific requirements.
    • Notify operator and supervisor of equipment deficiencies and corrective actions needed.
  • Effectively lead heavy equipment operations:
    • Manage and maintain accountability of service/support vehicles, transport, and personnel during incident travel; adequate ingress/egress, bridge load limits, turnarounds, safety zones, parking, etc.
    • Ensure operator follows safe loading/unloading and mounting/dismounting procedures and parks service/support vehicles and transport in secure area.
    • Ensure contract heavy equipment have radio communications. Follow specifications identified in their agreement/contract.
    • Review radio communication and hand signals with operator.
    • Provide equipment operators direct support concerning fire behavior, weather conditions, and communications.
    • Determine what tactics will be used and ensure that actions required meet objectives. Assign tasks based on operator skill and ability.
    • Determine fireline specifications necessary to stop fire spread using heavy equipment. Consider line location utilizing natural barriers where possible.
    • Construct safety zones as needed or directed according to safety zone construction standards found in the IRPG.
    • Ensure personnel maintain safe distance from equipment while in operation.
    • Ensure fueling safety precautions are followed.
    • Responsible for ensuring equipment is serviced and maintained.
  • Ensure familiarity with assigned type of heavy equipment and specific types of operations for which they are utilized (e.g., masticators, harvesters, feller bunchers).
  • Assess experience level of assigned personnel and/or operators. Ensure performance capabilities and limitations are discussed prior to assignment.
  • Establish accountability and contact procedures for assigned resources during incident travel and when off-duty.
  • Manage contract resources according to contract requirements and agency guidelines.
  • Develop contingency plans/alternatives in case of equipment breakdown or failure.

Perform Fireline Duties

  • Recon area of responsibility and assess feasibility of assigned objectives. Consult with supervisor on resource needs and suggest adjustments as necessary.
  • Develop and implement tactics based on incident objectives, fire behavior, risk assessment and leader's intent.
  • Organize and deploy assigned resources based on established objectives and resource capabilities.
  • Coordinate travel to and from fireline (e.g., travel routes, communication procedures, accountability). Ensure adherence to vehicle safety procedures. Identify ingress and egress routes. Consider bridge and road limits, equipment weight and length, and weather effects.
  • Request, direct, and provide feedback to aerial resources through established chain of command.
  • Provide status updates on conditions affecting operations, hazardous conditions, unresolved conflicts, air operations, etc., to supervisor.
  • Report special occurrences (e.g., stuck equipment, accidents, equipment failure) to supervisor.
  • Through established chain of command, assist the responsible land management agency and/or assigned Resource Advisor (READ), with the protection of natural, cultural, and other resources. Communicate when such resources are discovered and document suppression impacts.
  • Establish accurate logistical needs for assigned resources and use established ordering procedures.
  • Use maps, compass, Global Positioning System (GPS) and other tools and applications to gather information and navigate on incident.
  • Provide situation update and accomplishments to supervisor and/or relief forces at end of shift.
  • Contribute to the planning process by providing accurate information and recommendations through established chain of command.

Perform Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Duties

  • Conduct WUI operations according to guidelines stated in the IRPG, incident-specific objectives and guidelines, and agency-specific guidance.

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 ICS functional areas and chain of command.
  • Establish communications and exchange necessary briefings/information with the following:
    • Support resources.
    • Adjacent resources.
    • Supervisor.
  • 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).

Manage Risk

  • Apply the Risk Management Process as stated in the IRPG:
    • Identify Hazards.
    • Assess Hazards.
    • Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions.
    • Implement Controls.
    • Supervise and Evaluate.
  • Ensure Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones (LCES) are established and known to all firefighters before they are needed. Refer to guidelines stated in IRPG.
  • Use Look Up, Down and Around in IRPG to help maintain situational awareness. Adjust actions accordingly. Develop and communicate contingency plans and trigger points.
  • Utilize Safety Officers to assist with risk management process and provide input into safety of operations.
  • 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 IAP, the IRPG Medical Incident Report, or other relevant guidelines.
  • Monitor for signs and symptoms of fatigue, illness, or injury. Mitigate appropriately.
  • Account for location, health, safety, and welfare of assigned personnel.
  • Submit accident/incident reports with pertinent forms (SAFECOM, SAFENET, agency specific forms) through established chain of command.


  • Complete, authorize, ensure timeliness of, and route as required:
    • Crew Time Report (CTR), SF-261 (Watch: How to correctly fill out a CTR)
    • Emergency Equipment Shift Ticket (OF-297).
    • Vehicle/Heavy Equipment Inspection Checklist (OF-296).
    • Incident Personnel Performance Rating (ICS 225 WF).
    • Contractor Performance Evaluation.
    • General Message (ICS 213).
    • Activity Log (ICS 214).
    • SAFECOM.
    • SAFENET.
    • Agency-specific forms.


  • 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.


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