(May 26, 2022) On Wednesday, May 25, The Senate Commerce Committee approved by voice vote the “Fire Ready Nation Act of 2022,” which contains a provision that formally establishes an “Incident Meteorologist Service.”
As a result of NWSEO lobbying, the bill also includes a provision that will provide Incident
Meteorologists (IMETs) with true time-and-one-half overtime while dispatched to wildland
fires, and will raise the annual premium pay cap for IMETs to Level II of the Executive Service — or about $203,700 a year. If enacted, the entitlement to enhanced premium pay will be retroactive to January 1, 2020.
The bill now needs to advance to final approval on the Senate floor, as well as consideration
and approval by the House of Representatives.
The Fire Ready Nation Act also contains a provision that requires the NOAA Administrator
to “provide access to professional counseling or other forms of support as the Under Secretary considers appropriate for the betterment of the emotional and mental health and well-being of incident meteorologists and other employees of [NOAA] involved in response to high-impact and extreme fire weather events.”
Read more about the Fire Ready Nation Act here.