Wildland Fire Medical Support Unit
Coordination between the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS), the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual-Aid System (TIFMAS), and the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force (TX EMTF) began in earnest in fall of 2018, following after-actions stemming from the 2018 Texas Wildfire Season.
This collaborative initiative began with a series of leadership summits, co-hosted by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), and attended by numerous agency leads and/or subject matter experts. The group came to consensus that due to its diverse medical response capability, with a proven track record during previous events such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and the West, Tx explosion of 2013, the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force would take-on the responsibility of caring for Texas’ Wildland Firefighters during moderate-to-large scale state responses, beginning in March of 2019.
Because of the specialized training, rugged terrain, and austere environment encountered with wildland firefighting, several new components were developed specifically for the Wildland Fire Medical Support mission.
Wildland Paramedic Unit (WPU):
(2) Paramedics, Mobile (4×4 SUV/ATV); Located behind the Fire-Line, in close proximity to working fire crews, with emphasis on the ability to provide ALS-level care within minutes of acute illness or injury
- Advance Life Support (ALS) Capable: ALS Bag, Monitor, Airway Bag, O2
- Additionally, they equipped to operate safely in the wildfire environment with appropriate personal protective equipment, to include: Leather boots, wildland shirt & pants, leather gloves, hard hat, fire shelter, and VHF inter-op radio
Training / Certifications:
- S130/190, Paramedic Certification
If TFS/TIFMAS is Activated to a Working Fire: at the request of the AHJ
- Min  WPU Activated to Support / Scaled to Meet Incident Parameters
Rapid Extraction Module (REM):
(4) Paramedics in teams of (2), Mobile (4×4 SUV/ATV);
Covering Multiple Wildland Paramedic Units; Located near Fire-Line, w/ emphasis on rapid access to and evacuation of injured responders;
- ALS Capable: ALS Bag, Monitor, Technical Rescue Equipment
- S130/S190, S270/S271, Paramedic Certification, Rope Rescue Technician
Deployment is Incident geography dependent:(per TIFMAS Criteria)
-Area w/ high/low angle terrain; hand crew work; aggressive fire behavior; extended initial attack; concentrated area w/heavy equipment; 3+ Strike Teams Assigned
Mobile Medical Unit, with Responder Clinic/Rehab Capability:
Field medical unit with a variably configured team that may include, Physicians/Mid-Level Practitioners/Nurses/or Advance Practice Paramedics, Base Camp (Fixed Tent/Clinic Structure); Responsible for the basic clinic and minor rehabilitative care of responders at base camp, with emphasis on returning those capable, to the fire line;
- ALS medical cache with ability to provide IV rehydration, wound care, antibiotics, and similar therapies
Large-scale events with multiple TFS/TIFMAS strike teams & crews, with limited access to emergency room or similar-level care
Medical Incident Support Team (MIST):
Medical Incident Support Team (MIST) members are trained acute healthcare leadership to provide support to local jurisdictions, healthcare facilities and local health care infrastructure during disasters across the state of Texas. MIST personnel deploy to impacted EOCs, ICPs, Medical Operations Centers, and DDCs to provide integrated ESF-8 support to authorities, government agencies, hospitals, and state response partners during events or incidents.
Wildland fire support MIST are from fire-based agencies with wildland fire experience and are NCWG Medical Unit Leader trained.