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Group Leader

RFS Qualification: Group Leader

Abreviation: GL


The Group Leader (GL) program is targeted at persons with Crew Leader (CL) competencies and an aptitude for leading groups of crews. Group Leader (GL) is the minimum standard needed for people to manage groups of crews.

Group Leader (GL) is an internal RFS mainstream program for persons who lead groups of crews at incidents. It is designed to take a person with existing Crew Leader (CL) competencies and enable them to lead groups of crews.
Leading a group includes being an Incident Controller of a medium scale incident, or a task force or division commander at a larger incident. It also includes smoothly controlling a rapidly expanding incident from a medium scale operation until handing over control to a more senior officer usually located at a fixed fire control centre.



The following unit/s of competency are aligned with this program:

National Code
Title of Unit of Competency
Manage a Multi-Team Response
Covered by the Group Leader Analysis (GLA) and Command (GLC) programs

Note: The Group Leader Analysis (GLA) program covers the underpinning knowledge for GL related to bush firefighting. The Group Leader Command GLC program then covers the command and control (management) aspects of GL.


Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

PUAOPE001A Supervise Response is a prerequisite for PUAOPE005A Manage a Multi-Team Response. Within the RFS, this prerequisite is met by having Crew Leader Safety/ICS (CLS) or Crew Leader Supervision (CLS) certification.


Assessment and Certification:

The summative assessment for each applicant shall have three components:

- At least 10, and no more than 20, questions (either in oral or short written answer format) covering the theoretical subject matter of each of the GLA and GLC programs (i.e. a total of at least 20 and no more than 40 questions).

- A practical assessment for each of the two programs:

- For the GLA program, a case study evaluating the strategies, tactics, resource deployments and command arrangements used at an incident.
- For the GLC program, acting as the commander at a minimum of three medium scale fire operations of at least two different types (Types may include a bush fire, grass fire, plantation forest fire, interface fire or a prescribed burn).

- Confirmation from trainers and officers who have observed the performance of the applicant/s (in the GLC program) that the specified performance requirements have been met and are applied consistently.

The practical assessment should be conducted when trainees have completed all the relevant learning and practice sessions, or may be integrated within the final practice sessions. A holistic approach to assessment should be used. The assessment should combine the related competencies in ways that they will need to be used at actual incidents. In particular, the applicant should show clear evidence that they can satisfy the following:

Performance Lead a group of crews
Conditions In a typical range of incidents, while acting as the incident controller of a medium scale incident, or as the commander of a task force or division within a larger incident, or while scaling up from a medium scale operation until handover to an IMT occurs, or while winding down an operation
Standard Such that operations are conducted without injury, losses are minimised, operational objectives are achieved, activities are in accordance with the intent of the Incident Controller, and operations are conducted in accordance
with the incident control system (ICS) and Fireground SOPs.



GL training consists of two programs: Group Leader Analysis (GLA) and Group Leader Command (GLC). Each of the programs shall consist of two components:

A face-to-face component designed to impart the relevant underpinning knowledge. This component should be completed before a person progresses onto the next component. In GLA the emphasis is on bush fire behaviour and suppression, in GLC it is on pre-incident planning, operational management and the associated application of the Incident Control System (ICS). This is normally conducted at a local District/Team/Zone or Regional level using local and/or regional facilities, trainers and assessors.

Note: Distance education or e-learning may be used as alternative approaches to cover the underpinning knowledge component of the program, provided adequate learner support is made available (e.g. by phone/email) and that persons with limited literacy or numeracy skills can still effectively participate in the program.

Applying, developing and consolidating those competencies by practicing them during a specified series of learning activities (usually at a group or local level), until the required standard is reached.

The GLA program content (GLA is underpinning knowledge only) shall include the following topics:

Bush fire behaviour – a detailed study of bush fire behaviour in a wide range of vegetation fuel types – a detailed appreciation of meteorology – a detailed understanding of the effects of topography – and predicting fire behaviour from considering the interaction of those factors.

Bush fire suppression – application of the range of bush fire suppression strategies – selecting the appropriate strategy for use – characteristics, use and limitations of various firefighting resources – estimating and marshalling the needed resources – and scoping, planning and
supervising operations.

The GLC program content shall include the following topics of underpinning knowledge:
- Pre-incident planning (PIP) information – gathering, analysis, format, display and use.
- Relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) – function, format, display and use.
- Application of Incident Control System (ICS) principles, structures and processes.
- Command, control and communications structures and facilities for multi-team incidents.
- Interaction and coordination with other units and agencies.

The GLC program content shall include the following applied knowledge and skills:
- Gathering, analysis and communication of pre-incident planning information.
- Coordination, briefings, debriefings and team work in multi-team incidents.
- Establishing and using command and control systems and processes at multi-team incidents.
- Planning actions, and providing, tracking and managing resources at multi-team incidents.
- Managing activities using appropriate priorities and dealing with contingencies.
- Adapting to changes in the environment or to unusual environments.
- Operating as an Incident Controller (at a medium scale incident), and as a task force leader or
division commander (at large incidents).
- Operating as an Incident Controller while scaling up from a medium to a large firefighting
operation – and while winding down an operation.

Relevant safety aspects need to be covered before practical activities are undertaken.


Recognition of Prior Learning / Recognition Current Competence:

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) arrangements are as follows:

- Prior to commencing the program, each applicant should be advised of, and should consider the possibility of gaining certification through, recognition of prior learning (RPL).

- Next the applicant should check the likelihood of successful RPL by honestly answering the self-evaluation questions in the How to Become Qualified in GL Booklet.

- If those answers indicate RPL is likely to be successful, the applicant should compile the relevant evidence and seek RPL as indicated in the How to Become Qualified in GL Booklet.

- If those answers indicate that RPL is likely for part of the program, the applicant should speak with their trainer/assessor about possible exemption from that part of the program.

If those answers indicate that RPL is unlikely, they should participate in the full program.

Note: For Group Officers of long standing, the practical component of the GLC assessment (and the GLC post-course practice sessions) may be waived if the relevant fire control officer (FCO) provides a detailed testimonial that the applicant meets the specified criteria. (e.g. See the GLC Practical estimonial Checklist, near the back of the GLC Workbook, for a typical format).


Competency Maintenance:

- Shelf life - GL certification has an indefinite shelf life. However, challenge testing and/or refresher training may be required if the qualification has not been used for more than three years or there is evidence that current performance is not to the needed standard.

- Recent experience requirement – No requirements are specified, but it is recommended that GL competencies be practiced at least once a year.


Group Leader Modules:

Coming Soon!!!



Coming Soon!!!