National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Structure Protection Specialist

STPS decorative banner: photos depicting STPS position. STPS Position Description: The Structure Protection Specialist (STPS), when activated, is primarily responsible for preparing and protecting structures threatened by wildfire. The STPS may work directly for the Operations Section Chief or may be assigned to an Operations Branch Director (OPBD) or Division/Group Supervisor (DIVS).

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STPS Incident Position Description

The Structure Protection Specialist (STPS) is responsible for preparing and protecting structures threatened by wildfire. The STPS may work directly for the Operations Section Chief (OSC), an Operations Branch Director (OPBD), or Division/Group Supervisor (DIVS). The STPS works in the Operations 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.
  • Review Incident Action Plan (IAP) and obtain briefing, objectives, and intent from supervisor.
  • Obtain briefing from previous STPS if applicable.

Build The Team

  • Identify resources and equipment required to achieve control objectives.
  • Assemble assigned personnel and equipment.
  • Establish and communicate for the division: 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 and other relevant plans, maps, and local area information.
  • Brief assigned personnel using IAP and/or NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461, briefing checklist.

Supervise and Direct Work Assignments

  • 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.
  • Maintain accountability of assigned resources.

Perform Structure Protection Specialist-Specific Duties

  • Evaluate threat to structures based on current and predicted fire behavior.
  • Identify and evaluate improved properties and structures requiring protection.
  • Coordinate structural triage evaluations and decisions.
  • Estimate number of resources required to implement structure protection plan.
  • Develop and implement a structure protection plan.
  • Review division/group assignments and consider span of control.
  • Participate in the development of the IAP.
  • Obtain regular updates from assigned and/or adjacent resources.
  • Provide safety briefing to assigned resources.
  • Coordinate activities with adjacent division/groups and air operations as well as local municipal firefighters.
  • Report special occurrences (e.g., structure/improved property loss or damage, accidents, sickness) to supervisor.
  • Resolve logistical problems with the division/group.
  • Provide situation update and accomplishments to supervisor and/or relief forces at end of shift or at completion of assignment.
  • When assigned to a Division, ensure clear understanding of geographical areas of responsibility with DIVS, and assigned personnel within that area.
  • Identify safety zones and parking areas for fire equipment and resources within wildland urban interface (WUI) area of responsibility.

Communicate and Coordinate

  • Keep supervisor informed of situation and resources status.
  • 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:
    • Other ICS functional areas.
    • Adjacent DIVS/Groups.
    • Host unit representatives.
    • Resource Advisor (READ).
  • Communicate effectively using multichannel radios. Prepare and program radios for assignment. Ensure effective radio communications when assigned resources are using multiple frequencies during incident operations. 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 NWCG Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461:
    • 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.
  • 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 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.



  • 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.
  • Ensure equipment and supplies are returned to appropriate 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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