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Frequently Asked Questions


1)   Q: What is NFES?

NFES is the acronym for National Fire Equipment System.  It is a confederation of National Interagency Support Caches, General Services Administration, National Wildfire Coordination Group and the Forest Service Technology and Development Centers.  NFES standardizes the supplies and equipment used in wildland fire activities.

2)   Q: Do you sell items?

No.  Items are loaned to customers for short-term use.  When they are returned, the items are cleaned, refurbished and restocked for future issue.  Consumable items are generally not serviced for reuse.   An accounting charge will be booked for any item not returned.

3)   Q: Then, where can I buy items to keep?

We can provide you with information about the vendors and sources we use.   Call us or reference our Vendor Listings.

4)   Q: How do I order supplies?

You can find ordering procedures in your National and Local MOB guides and in the National NFES catalog.  Or click here for detailed Ordering Procedures.

5)   Q: Does my order have to go through the Dispatch Center or can I order directly from the Cache?

Orders from Type 1 and Type 2 incident command teams may be sent directly to the Cache. Some Type 3 incident command teams may be given authorization to order directly from the Cache if Direct Ordering guidelines are met.

If you go directly to the Cache for an incident or incident replacement order, you must use S-numbers between 100,000 and 199,999.

All other wild fire response orders must be routed through the Local Dispatch Center.

Orders for non-fire activities may be sent directly to the Cache.

For other details, please go here for Ordering Policies.

6)   Q: Will the Cache accept orders through ROSS?

Yes, for both Incident and Incident Replacement orders.  Do not use S-numbers between 100,000 and 199,999.  More tips for using ROSS.

7)   Q: What are the most common mistakes in ordering?

  1. Missing S-number. The ordering person must ensure every line has a distinctive number. No S-number can be duplicated for any given incident order number.

  2. Missing or incorrect NFES number.  Every item has a unique number.  Utilize the on-line Cache Catalog or the National NFES Catalog  to assist you.

  3. Missing or incorrect unit of issue.  Neither the computer nor the person taking your order are psychic.  And you might get more or less than you need.

  4. No contact identified.   If there is missing or questionable order details or any changes, the order processor needs to talk with you to ensure good service.

8)   Q: How do I replace items used, lost or damaged on incident?

You can find replacement procedures in your National MOB guide and the National NFES catalog.

9)   Q: Is the cache open 24/7?

No.   Normal business hours are 0700 to 1600 hours Monday through Friday.  Either may be extended depending on business volume.  Go to Operational Hours to check on current hours.

10)   Q: If I order items for a project, will I have to pay for returned items?

Yes and No.   When you return the item(s), there will be a refurbishing cost for cleaning and repair.   If an item was not used, there will be no cost at all.   This link will take you to our Refurbishment Cost For Projects sheet.

11)   Q: Do I need a Job Code  or a P-Code to order items?

Yes, ALL requests for supplies need valid Job and Over-ride codes to be processed.  For activities unrelated to fire or by non-Federal customers a valid reimbursable code must be provided.

12)   Q: How do I return HAZMAT to the Cache?

Return of HAZMAT to the Cache requires meeting strict guidelines. Read these Hazards Material Haulback instructions.