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Communications Unit

In 2004, the Department of Homeland Security established the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as a standardized approach to incident management. Within NIMS, the Incident Command System (ICS) systematizes command, control and coordination of emergency response. The Communications Unit (COMU) resides in the Logistics section of the ICS.

Minnesota first adopted the COMU in 2007 by training and recognizing Communications Unit Leaders (COMLs) and in 2011 by training and recognizing Communications Unit Technicians (COMTs).

In 2017, Minnesota updated its COMU program by establishing Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs) to fulfill the following purpose statement:

Consistent with the NIMS-ICS, Minnesota will develop and maintain a strong COMU program that is organized, encourages training and exercising, and one that supports availability and deployability so that the COMU may be considered a core component of public safety incidents and exercises.

Minnesota now recognizes six COMU positions:

  • Communications Unit Leader (COML).
  • Communications Unit Technician (COMT).
  • Incident Communication Center Manager (INCM).
  • Incident Tactical Dispatcher (INTD).
  • Radio Operator (RADO).
  • Amateur Emergency Communications Specialist (AECS).

The SOGs also:

  • Establish the process for requesting and maintaining recognition for COMU positions.
  • Define the responsibility for providing COMU instructors.
  • Define responsibility for providing training and exercising opportunities.
  • Define minimal requirements for deployment.
  • Provide record keeping and reporting requirements.
  • Provide standardized forms.

Statewide Emergency Communications Board Standard #3.48.0 authorizes Minnesota’s COMU and the Standard Operating Guidelines.

The below links will take you to relevant COMU sites:

Standard 3.48.0

COMU Standard Operating Guidelines

COMU Standard Operating Guidelines Forms

AECS Position Task Book

Other Position Task Books can be found on the ECN HSIN page