Information Bulletin Number 0705039

NIMS Alert 15-07 "Pathfinder Task Forces"

Incident Management Systems Division Releases Resource Typing Definitions for Pathfinder Task Forces FEMA's Incident Management Systems Division has released resource typing definitions for Pathfinder Task Forces within the Mass Care discipline as part of the Nation's effort to strengthen catastrophic response capabilities in accordance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

The Pathfinder Task Force program works under local Incident Command using mapping and tracking systems to seek out persons with special needs who are homebound. The Task Force simultaneously can provide the bulk of the staffing for up to 20 Points of Distribution (POD), along with a central Logistics Staging Area. A POD is a physical location where medications or other items are distributed to individuals who have not been evacuated to mass care facilities. The most commonly planned PODs are for Pandemic Flu to distribute anti-viral drugs and provide inoculations to individuals within a given geographic area. When a local or state emergency operations center activates the Pathfinders program, a local facility is identified, which can house and secure a 10-14 day operation with up to 1500 personnel, who then can render assistance to an impacted population of up to 250,000 people in an area of about 500 square miles.

A Pathfinder Task Force consists of credentialed personnel, working under the local ESF 6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services). The Task Force can range from 7 - 20 members (depending on the Type level of disaster) and has its own incident support team. The Task Force can expand to incorporate local, state, and federal resources and personnel which can include military assets, civilian volunteers, and local, public, nonemergency employees for outreach missions.

These recommended resource typing definitions have been submitted to the Incident Management Systems Division and will be made available on the NIMS Web page at:

The Incident Management Systems Division again invites NIMS Stakeholders to review the resource typing definitions for Pathfinder Task Forces. The comment review period will end 30 days from the date of this Alert. Following adjudication of comments, there will be a final release.

Comments can be directed to the following E-mail address: