Initial Attack Dispatcher

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IADP Incident Position Description

The Initial Attack Dispatcher (IAPD) is responsible for mobilizing preplanned response resources to wildfires and other incidents. The IADP reports to the Dispatch Center Manager and works in the Dispatch 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.
  • Check in with incident supervisor and/or dispatch when arriving at the incident.
  • Obtain briefing, objectives, and intent from supervisor.
  • Obtain briefing from previous shift/assignment position as necessary.

Build the Team

  • 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.
  • Identify assigned resources and maintain accountability.

Lead, Supervise, Direct

  • Identify, analyze, and use relevant situational information to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions.

Perform Initial Attack Dispatcher-Specific Duties

  • Perform duties in accordance with local, geographic area, and national policies, standards, procedures, and guides.
  • Review and follow local dispatch standard operating procedures.
  • Use standard terminology, symbols, designators, and acronyms.
  • Use computer aided dispatch systems following local protocols.
  • Use appropriate resource ordering system following local protocols.
  • Use dispatch telecommunications equipment.
  • Use and interpret topographic maps to plot locations.
  • Conduct briefings with relief dispatchers.
  • Retrieve and distribute appropriate intelligence products such as spot weather and fire weather forecasts.
  • Establish, display, and maintain current resource status.
  • Direct resource to plotted location.
  • Utilize current and appropriate incident business management concepts.
  • Identify and understand the processes for obtaining pertinent information and/or producing intelligence products:
    • Daily fire weather observations.
    • Situation reports.
    • Resource status.
    • Fire statistics.
    • Incident Status Summary (ICS 209).
  • Dispatch tactical resources according to hosting center’s procedures.
  • Prioritize dispatch tasks to accomplish mission.
  • Recognize and identify resource shortages.
  • Recognize local and situation hazards and take appropriate action.
  • Use local and national dispatch protocol to process off-unit requests.
  • Support local office operations in providing and coordinating logistical support for initial and extended attack.
  • Create new resource orders.
  • Update and validate resources status.
  • Place and/or fill pending requests.
  • Release and/or reassign resources.
  • Obtain travel information for/from mobilizing or demobilizing resources.
  • Follow up on confirmation of orders.
  • Utilize contracts, agreements, and other existing sources according to local procedures to obtain resources.
  • Utilize reference guides to validate resource capabilities, limitation, or regulations governing use.
  • Determine the availability of a resource to meet the specific mission requested by the incident.
  • Plan and implement flight following procedures according to agency requirements.
  • Monitor aircraft operations for adherence to regulations and safety procedures.
  • Select appropriate and cost-effective aircraft to meet mission requirements.
  • Identify hazards and deconflict airspace.
  • Dispatch tactical aircraft.
  • Mobilize aircraft for logistical missions.
  • Monitor, prioritize, and coordinate radio traffic involving multiple frequencies.

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).

Manage Risk

  • Apply the Risk Management Process as stated in the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461:
    • Identify Hazards.
    • Assess Hazards.
    • Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions.
    • Implement Controls.
    • Supervise and Evaluate.
  • Locate emergency guides and plans such as Search and Rescue, Continuity of Operations, Hazardous Materials, etc. Identify responsibilities for activation of these varied emergency plans and ensure that assigned resources are prepared to execute the emergency plans.
  • 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:


  • Anticipate demobilization, identify excess resources, coordinate with operations to prepare demobilization schedule, and communicate with supervisor.
  • Plan for demobilization. Brief assigned resources on demobilization procedures and responsibilities. Ensure incident and agency demobilization procedures and work/rest driving standards are followed.
  • 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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