The Challenge

Building and leading teams in a mission-driven culture to operate in high-risk environments.

The Course

At the Point of the Spear: Leading and preparing emergency response units is a 36-hour program that focuses on helping response leaders build more cohesive, adaptive, and resilient teams. This program teaches principles for leading in high-risk and high-stress environments, building team cohesion, and resolving conflicts and problems within the team. Using a mix of theory, case studies, classroom exercises, and field exercises, this interactive program is designed to reinforce mission-driven operational culture at the team level and to provide a framework from which to launch future organizational development.

  • Memory and Behavior
  • Leadership Influence and Leading Adaptively
  • Building, Training and Learning as a Team
  • Error Resiliency
  • Stress as an Operational Risk
  • Accountability, Standards and Expectations
  • Communications and Conflict Resolution
  • Leading Ethically

More than 60 agencies and departments rely on this program for first-line leader development. This course is also certified for the NWCG as L-380 and is listed in the Federal/State Catalog for the DHS as CA-002-PREV.

At the Point of the Spear encompasses a set of first-line leader development programs that share the same philosophy and objectives but are specific to individual types of operating environments.

  • Fire Service Leadership – municipal and structural firefighting and rescue
  • Fireline Leadership – wildland firefighting
  • Leading Emergency Responders – emergency management, EMS, HAZMAT, medical, SAR
  • Beyond the Badge – law enforcement
  • Leading Interdisciplinary Teams – land management, public administration
  • Leading Public Health Teams – public health professionals


At the Point of the Spear has a two-decade track record of success in strengthening leader effectiveness and advancing clients’ organizational change goals. Since 2001, more than 25,000 response leaders have graduated from versions of this program throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.

Who should attend?

Those who have a current or forthcoming assignment as a unit supervisor.


Although the program has no specific prerequisite programs, the following is beneficial:

An introduction to human factors such as L-180: Human Factors in the Wildland Fire Service


MCS is the sole provider of At the Point of the Spear (CA-002-PREV), which is listed in FEMA’s State and Federal Sponsored Course Catalog as CA-002-PREV.  The Department of Homeland Security has approved this MCS program for use with SHSP and UASI grant funds.

In addition, MCS programs fully meet all requirements set by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) for the L-380 certification standard. MCS is the largest provider of L-380: Fireline Leadership, and we have the most extensive qualification requirements for instructors in comparison to other vendors.

Why choose MCS for L-380: Fireline Leadership?

Frequently Asked Questions

For answers about schedule, facilities requirements, certifications, student qualifications, and more, see the FAQ page.

At the Point of the Spear: Program FAQs

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