Friday, July 21, 2017

IMET trainees

About a month ago I was perusing the National Weather Service IMET Facebook Page looking for recent postings of IMETs (incident meteorologists) working wildfires and other news affecting IMETs when I came across a couple of posts about IMET trainees on their way to wildfires. See for example the post below.

I wanted to know more about IMET trainees so I wrote a Facebook Message to the NWS IMET staff (in Boise Idaho) who are responsible for their NWS IMET Facebook Page. I have corresponded with them before via Facebook so they knew about my blog. I sent the NWS IMETs a Facebook message them asking them if they could share a little about the IMET training program. This is their response:
IMET training: NWS meteorologists start out their careers as interns and take numerous training courses in forecasting, satellite, radar, etc. After 4 years or so they can become Journey level forecasters (aka General Forecasters). Once they reach the Journey level, and if there are openings in the IMET program, they can volunteer for an IMET position. Once accepted they go through another 250 hours of training, learning everything from meso and micro scale meteorology, weather in different locations across the nation (everything from the mountains in the west to sea breeze interactions in the east), fire behavior training and fire safety. They then go on a minimum of 2 training fires where they complete a taskbook that spells out all the duties they must be capable of doing on a wildland fire incident. Once that taskbook and all the training is complete, then their taskbook is certified as complete and they become a qualified IMET. Annually the IMETs take about 20-40 hours of refresher training to keep their skills sharp and brush up on their fire safety.
I was waiting to share this post until I saw recent activity on IMET trainee postings, when I saw the following posting about an IMET trainee on their way to the Missouri Fire currently burning near Yellow Pine, Idaho (date of origin - 7/20/17; 1,194 acres; 5% containment). I wish this IMET trainee luck as h/she works on their taskbook. Stay safe and thanks for what you are doing! IMETs save lives.

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