NESA Southeast
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Task Training


As outlined by the National Emergency Services Curriculum Project, NESA follows what is known as a task-based training program. This section provides a general idea of what this program means for each student.


Curriculum Materials

NESA programs (except where noted) use Task Guides. These manuals, more commonly referred to as “task guides,” are textbooks of sorts, containing nearly all of the information an individual needs to acquire to become rated in particular specialties.

  • The Ground and Urban Direction Finding Team Task Manual is the primary document for NESA GSAR

  • The Mission Aircrew Reference Text is the primary document for NESA Aircrew

  • The Mission Management and ICS programs use the Incident Command Staff Task Guide and Reference Text

  • Wilderness Advanced First Aid uses a commercial text


The Ground
and Urban Direction
Finding Team
Task Manual
The Mission Aircrew
Reference Text
Incident Command Staff
Task Guide
and Reference Text
Advanced First Aid


Tasks are grouped together by relevance, not by the rating that requires them. For instance, tasks O-0001 through O-0010 relate to individual and team equipment, but not all of these tasks must be passed to achieve the GTM-2 rating. The task guide also contains the criteria for attaining each level rating.


Task Format and Testing

The task guides contain the criteria for attaining each level of a rating. Each task spells out three things: the objectives of that task, what the student needs to know to pass, and the task evaluation criteria (how the evaluator is to test the student).


Collect and efficiently pack all items required of a ground team member.


 Training Outline
 (what the student needs to know to pass)


 task evaluation criteria (how the evaluator is to test the student).

This means that participants are given a study guide with the test questions and answers already in it. For example, the objective of Task O-0002, Conduct Individual Refit, is for the student to learn, then correctly identify and explain the steps that must be taken to prepare for the next sortie or mission. The task outlines and explains these steps, then concludes with instructions to the evaluator. All tasks follow this format.

There are two types of tasks: knowledge-based tasks, which we call “K’s” and tasks that are evaluated by the demonstration/performance method (“practical tasks”). Knowledge-based tasks (such as task O-0002), require that the student verbally show mastery of the information covered by the task. Practical tasks (like task O-0001), require that the student either demonstrate a skill or the practical application of the covered information. This means that any “downtime” students encounter should be devoted to studying and testing for their assigned knowledge-based tasks. Participants will be briefed as to whom they may go to for testing during the activity. It is important to note that responsibility for getting many tasks signed off is in the hands of the participant, not the staff! It is each student’s responsibility to pass the tasks.


Task Breakdown and Organization

NESA programs break down all the tasks required for ratings into tracks. Tasks are covered according to the track to which each participant is assigned at the beginning of the cycle (see Training Track Breakdown). During each weekend of the training, specific tasks are assigned, based on modules covered in each track that weekend. For example, weekend 2 modules in the Basic GSAR school include Radio Direction Finding and stretcher work. Accordingly, the Basic students are responsible for the ELT/DF and stretcher tasks that weekend.


Training Track Breakdown

Participants are organized into separate tracks at the beginning of the cycle. The track that a participant is placed in is based upon their rating, experience, and age. These tracks correspond to the levels of rating that can be achieved. All levels require individuals to complete General Emergency Services training ( on their own. It is not offered as part of NESA training. Detailed information is available on the individual school pages


Ground Search And Rescue





Team Leader

The Basic track covers all tasks necessary to become GTM-3 qualified.


The Advanced track covers all tasks required to become GTM-1 qualified.


The Team Leader course includes all tasks for GTM-2, 1, and Ground Team  Leader. 

Best For: younger participants or those who are new to ground operations.    Best For: more experienced or older participants.
Many Advanced students are in their second year of attending, after completing
Basic in their first year. 
An individual must be rated at least GTM-3 to participate in the Advanced track.
  Best For: experienced and older students.
Team Leaders must be 18 years of age, IAW CAP regulations. 
In addition, all Team Leader students must be rated at least a GTM-3.










This track covers all tasks necessary to become qualified as an Aerial Photographer.


This track covers all tasks necessary to become qualified as an Aerial Photographer.


Mission Observer and Pilot students participate in this portion of Aircrew training. 



Incident Command Staff School

The ICS School will train students who are interested in running or managing a mission.

ICSS Basic Course members can attain various ICS ratings, including MSA and MRO.



Task assignments are covered in detail during the weekend. Testing for practical tasks will be done according to the schedule set by the staff, while testing for knowledge-based tasks may be done at any time during the weekend as long as it does not interfere with training. The staff will keep records of the tasks that each participant passes to ensure that they receive credit with NHQ.



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