Texas Emergency Management ONLINE2011 Vol. 58 No. 10

ABCs OF INCIDENT MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE TEAMS

IMAT

WHAT IS AN INCIDENT MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT TEAM?
FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) are full-time, rapid-response teams with dedicated staff able to deploy within two hours – and arrive at an incident within 12 hours – to support the local incident commander. The teams support the initial establishment of a unified command and provide situational awareness for federal and state decision-makers. This is crucial to determining the level and type of immediate federal support that may be required. IMATs were developed from an expanded concept of the former Emergency Response Teams (ERT) at the national and regional levels.

HOW MANY IMATs ARE THERE?
The plan is to establish three National IMATs and 13 Regional IMATs. All ten FEMA Regions will have at least one Regional IMAT. Regions II, IV and VI will have two Regional IMATs. Regional IMATs are located at the Regional Offices. The Texas IMAT team includes:

Joe Bearden – IMAT Team Lead/Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer
Cole Bricker – IMAT Operations Chief
Scott Thomas – IMAT Planning Chief
Matt Boyle – IMAT Logistics Chief
Jacqueline Chandler – IMAT External Affairs Officer

WHAT CAN AN IMAT DO FOR MY STATE?
IMATs provide a federal presence to facilitate the management of the national response to catastrophic incidents. The primary mission of a FEMA IMAT is to deploy to an incident or incident-threatened venue rapidly, to provide leadership in identifying what federal assistance is needed, and to coordinate and integrate inter-jurisdictional response in support of an affected state or territory.

WHAT IS THE COMPOSITION OF AN IMAT TEAM?
IMATs are led by experienced, senior-level emergency managers. They are staffed with a core of permanent full-time employees. This is different from FEMA’s Emergency Response Teams (ERT), which were staffed on a collateral duty basis. When not deployed, the teams are responsible for building and maintaining a close working relationship with regional, state, tribal and local emergency management officials, as well as federal partners, and the private sector. They support planning, training, exercising and other activities in preparation for disaster response.

Both national and regional-level teams can be augmented with additional staff from other departments and agencies as needed and are supported by FEMA’s Mobile Emergency Response Support elements. The teams are fully compliant with the National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System and they train and exercise as a unit.


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