National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Safety Officer, Line

SOFR decorative banner: photos depicting SOFR position. SOFR Position Description: The Safety Officer (SOFR), a member of the Command Staff, is responsible for monitoring and assessing hazardous and unsafe situations and developing measures for assuring personnel safety. The Safety Officer will correct unsafe acts or conditions through the regular line of authority, although they (Safety Officer) may exercise emergency authority to stop or prevent unsafe acts when immediate action is required. Only one Safety Officer will be assigned for each incident. The Safety Officer may have assistant Safety Officers as necessary, and the assistant Safety Officer may represent assisting agencies or jurisdictions. Assistant Safety Officers may have specific responsibilities, such as air operations, hazardous materials, etc.(SOFR is not a prerequisite to NWCG SOF2.)

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The Safety Officer, Line (SOFR) is responsible for monitoring the overall operation of an incident from a risk management perspective to provide for the welfare of assigned resources. SOFRs can be assigned to incidents of any complexity level. On Type 3, 4, or 5 incidents, they may be the lead safety officer, reporting to the Incident Commander (IC) and on Type 2 or 1 incidents, they may report to the lead safety officer – Safety Officer, Type 1 (SOF1) or Safety Officer, Type 2 (SOF2). SOFRs may supervise a Medical Unit Leader (MEDL) or other members in the safety organization. SOFRs work in the Command functional area.

(SOFR is not a prerequisite to NWCG SOF2.)

The Forest Service and Department of Interior are enabled by Administratively Determined Pay Plans (AD Pay Plans) to hire persons for temporary duration for the following reasons:

  1. To cope with a sudden and unexpected emergency caused by a fire, or extreme fire potential, flood, storm, or any other all-hazard emergency that threatens damage to federally protected property, has the potential to cause loss of life, serious injury, public health risk, or damage to natural or cultural resources unless brought under immediate control.
  2. To provide emergency assistance to States under formalized agreements.
  3. To meet mission assignments issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) Incident Business Committee (IBC) reviews positions annually and establishes pay rate classifications for each position.

For more information on the AD Pay Plans, go to

Jan 2024

Updated Positions Qualification Requirements as follows:

Added to "SOFR Maintains Currency For These Positions":

  •  Safety Officer Field (SOFF)

Jan 2023


  • Safety Officer Complex (SOFC) to "These Positions Maintain Currency For SOFR."
  • Safety Officer Complex (SOFC) to "SOFR Maintains Currency For These Positions."

Jul 2022

Added: Incident Position Description (IPD) approved.

Sep 2015

Added: Advanced ICS (ICS-400) required training to align position with FEMA Type 3 standards.
Added: Transition Plan:

  • All qualified SOFR individuals will remain qualified. Individuals will be granted ICS-400 in responder’s records.
  • All SOFR trainees will be required to complete ICS-400 prior to position qualification.

Oct 2014

Updated: Position Task Book language to reflect the following: Once qualified as a SOF2, the SOFR qualification may be granted by the certifying official. Certification must be documented on a “verification/certification” page of the SOFR Position Task Book (311-82).

Apr 2006

Position created.

The title of the Safety Officer Type 3 position has been changed to Safety Officer, Line (SOFR). This position is entry level, is not a prerequisite for higher qualifications, and is not tied to the complexity of an incident.


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