National Wildfire Coordinating Group

NWCG Standards for M-2002 Fire Shelters, PMS 411


Publication cover: the new generation fire shelter.   Image of flames and trees in the forefront.

The fire shelter is required personal protective equipment (PPE) for all federal wildland firefighters and must be carried on the fireline by everyone on federal wildfires. All National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) member agencies have required carrying a fire shelter since 2010. State, local, and rural fire departments may have different policies regarding the fire shelter’s use.

The fire shelter was first required for federal wildland firefighters in 1977. Since then, shelters have saved hundreds of firefighters’ lives and protected hundreds more from serious injuries. However, it is important to understand that the shelter will not protect firefighters in all deployment situations. Sadly, between the old style and M-2002, 41 firefighters have perished in fully or partially deployed shelters.

Carrying a fire shelter should never be considered a risk mitigation tool or substitute for safety.

What you see on this site may be familiar because much of the guidance for using shelters is unchanged. Stories relayed by firefighters who survived deployments can help other firefighters learn how to use the M-2002 shelter. For interviews with deployment survivors, see the Resources tab on the menu.

This site is a reference for fire shelters and is not intended to stand alone. New and experienced firefighters should use this site as part of a comprehensive fire shelter training program that includes facilitated discussions and hands-on training. No one who is required to carry a fire shelter should go on the fireline without reading, understanding, and practicing the recommendations provided on this site.

This site contains 10 sections, each explaining a different part of the fire shelter, training for its use, and the use of the fire shelter on the fireline. For training purposes, sections can be utilized individually, or in conjunction with others. The shelter training sections are:

  • Fire Shelter History – Provides the history of the fire shelter, and material, and design advancements.
  • Know Your Fire Shelter – Explains how the fire shelter protects you.
  • Escape and Entrapment – Provides information on avoiding entrapments and reviews entrapment situations.
  • Selecting Your Deployment Site – Discusses deployment site selection.
  • Deployment – Explains how to prepare for deployment and the steps to deploy your shelter.
  • During a Deployment – Provides information on what can be expected during a deployment.
  • Training – Explains the importance of training and provides training scenario suggestions.
  • Inspection and Care – Describes inspection criteria and procedures that will keep worn shelters off the fireline.
  • After a Deployment – Discusses what may happen in the days and weeks following a deployment.
  • Resources – Provides project review information, training aids, Tech Tips, publications, reports, and Fire Shelter Deployment Stories.



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