S-358, Communications Unit Leader, 2008

S-358 Decorative banner: Three wildland fire photos of radio communication operations. A technician checks a radio at the dispatch center. A radio technician checks a radio in an incident command tent. A technician checks boxes of radio equipment in a command tent on an incident.

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This course is designed to provide skills and knowledge needed to perform in the role of Communications Unit Leader (COML). Topics include mobilization, establishing the communications unit, communications system design and ordering, communications system installation and maintenance, communications equipment assignment and accountability, incident communications center, internal and external coordination, demobilization, and current communications issues and technology.


  • Identify the functions of the communications unit and the duties and responsibilities of the Communications Unit Leader.
  • Arrive at the incident properly equipped, gather information to assess the assignment, and begin initial planning activities of a Communications Unit Leader.
  • Plan, staff, manage, and demobilize the communications unit in a safe and effective manner to meet the needs of the incident.
  • Coordinate with incident sections, appropriate communications, and other agencies and personnel to assist in accomplishing the overall incident objectives.
  • Design, order, and ensure the installation and maintenance of all communications systems to support the incident.
  • Maintain accountability of assigned communications equipment.

Target Group

Personnel desiring to be qualified as Communications Unit Leader (COML).

Prerequisite Qualifications and Training

Qualified as Incident Communications Technician (COMT), and as Incident Communications Center Manager (INCM).

Session Offerings

Nationally advertised course sessions can be found on the NWCG Wildland Fire Learning Portal (WFLP). Log on as a guest to search for session offerings of this course and to view other public content. To search for a specific course, use the FIND LEARNING menu at the top of the page, then select UPCOMING COURSES. To view Geographic Area training schedules, select the specific GEOGRAPHIC AREA information using the drop-down menu at the top of the page. Contact your local Training Officer for more information about local course sessions.


S-358 is available as classroom instructor-led training.

Course Components and Hours to Complete

Course ComponentCourse Time
Pre-course workN/A
Pre-selection assessmentN/A
Online trainingN/A
Instructor-led training24
Total Hours24

Course Level

Regional, state, or area

Minimum Instructor Qualifications

The lead instructor must be a qualified Communications Coordinator (COMC).

Unit instructors must be qualified as Communications Unit Leader (COML).

See NWCG Standards for Course Delivery, PMS 901-1, Instructor Standards for more information.


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