Tom Fargione began his FEMA career in 2013 when he joined the National Incident Management Assistance Team (N-IMAT). Serving as Team Leader for N-IMAT Blue since 2017, Tom is responsible for ensuring the team has the capability and capacity to respond immediately and effectively to the worst disasters likely to befall the country. He regularly engages with FEMA’s response organization to develop doctrine, policy, and procedures to support the Agency’s mission of helping disaster survivors. Additionally, he is responsible for creating and maintaining a dialog with similar teams at the state and local level, and to participate in programs to continuously improve the Incident Management Team system at FEMA and elsewhere in the country.
Tom was previously the team’s Operations Section Chief, charged with ensuring a synchronized, strategic, tactical approach to federal disaster response. Like this previous position, as Team Leader, Tom works with other federal agencies and regional partners to assure operational integration and coordination through planning, training and exercise.
Experienced in responding to incidents and threats throughout diverse geographic, cultural, and demographic areas – from NYC to the Pacific and Caribbean U.S. territories and commonwealths – Tom has worked several benchmark disasters, including the 9/11 World Trade Center response, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and the historic 2004 and 2017 hurricane seasons.
Mr. Fargione has supported FEMA disaster response in numerous key leadership positions including: Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) for Response; Assistant FCO charged with overseeing and directing the Operations and Planning functions; Operations Section Chief; and Assistant Operations Chief for Planning (Planning Ops).
Tom has commanded significant numbers of responders – for example more than 17,000 total federal staff supported the initial response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Mr. Fargione has served in leadership capacities at the federal, state and local levels across a wide range of incidents including: wildfires; large vessel capsize; missing person searches; human and animal disease identification/control; landslides; dam failure; severe flooding; snow emergencies; bridge failure; hurricane relief; mass fatality incidents, and major police tactical operations.
Before joining the National IMAT in 2009, Tom was the FEMA Region II IMAT Team Leader, overseeing the development and maintenance of IMAT capability and capacity for the Region, including the development of deployment strategies that balanced response needs against Regional Response Coordination Center requirements.
Tom has participated as a subject matter expert on working groups charged with developing doctrinal manuals for the FEMA Qualification System, Incident Response and Incident Action Plans.
In addition to his federal service, Tom has worked in various capacities as an emergency manager and first responder at the state and local levels. Before joining FEMA, Tom was Deputy Director for Response for the New York State Office of Emergency Management and Incident Commander for New York State's Type 2 (All-hazard) Incident Management Team. Prior to his state and federal emergency management career, Tom was a Police Officer for 31 years, spending 18 years in Special Investigations and 10 years in EMS rescue and emergency management.