National Incident Management System
- NIMS redirects here. For other meanings see Nims.
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) identifies concepts and principles that answer how to manage emergencies from preparedness to recovery regardless of their cause, size, location or complexity. NIMS provides a consistent, nationwide approach and vocabulary for multiple agencies or jurisdictions to work together to build, sustain and deliver the core capabilities needed to achieve a secure and resilient nation.
- 1 Background
- 2 NIMS and National Preparedness
- 3 Concepts and principles
- 4 NIMS components
- 5 Federal Emergency Management Agency National Integration Center
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) represents a set of concepts and principles that answer how to manage disasters and emergencies regardless of their cause, size, location or complexity. The NIMS is this nation’s blueprint for effective and efficient incident management. It provides a consistent, nationwide approach and vocabulary for federal, state, tribal and local governments to work together to prepare for, respond to and recover from domestic incidents.
State, tribal, and local governments play an important role in implementing the NIMS. One responsibility is to ensure that the systems and processes needed to communicate and support NIMS concepts and principles at all jurisdictional levels are in place. In some instances, tribal nations or local governments may not have the resources to implement NIMS elements on their own. States support their efforts by encouraging them to cooperate with other localities and response agencies in their regions, and to pool their resources to implement NIMS.
A basic premise of NIMS is that all incidents begin and end locally. The federal government supports state, tribal and local authorities when their resources are overwhelmed or anticipated to be overwhelmed. In such situations, the federal government coordinates assistance to affected authorities. Federal support is most efficient when all participating organizations — regardless of level of government or response discipline — practice NIMS.
The benefits of NIMS include: A standardized approach to incident management that is scalable and flexible. Enhanced cooperation and interoperability among responders. Comprehensive all-hazards preparedness. Efficient resource coorination among jurisdictions or organizations. Integration of best practices and lessons learned for continuous improvement.
NIMS and National Preparedness
Consistent implementation of NIMS provides a solid foundation across jurisdictions and disciplines to ensure effective and integrated preparedness, planning and response. NIMS empowers the components of the National Preparedness System, a requirement of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)-8, to guide activities within the public and private sector and describes the planning, organizing, equipping, training and exercising needed to build and sustain the core capabilities in support of the National Preparedness Goal.
The National Preparedness Goal is a secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk. To achieve the Goal, existing preparedness networks and activities, such as NIMS, will be used to improve training and exercise programs, promote innovation and ensure that the administrative, finance and logistics systems are in place to support these capabilities.
Concepts and principles
NIMS is based on an appropriate balance of flexibility and standardization:
NIMS provides a consistent, flexible and adjustable national framework within which government and private entities at all levels can work together to manage domestic incidents, regardless of their cause, size, location or complexity.
NIMS provides a set of standard organizational structures, as well as requirements for processes, procedures and systems designed to improve operability among jurisdictions and disciplines in various areas.
Command and management
NIMS standard incident command structures are based on three key organizational systems:
- The Incident Command System (ICS) is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach that: 1) Allows for the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications operating within a common organizational structure; 2) enables a coordinated response among various jurisdictions and functional agencies, both public and private; and 3) establishes common processes for planning and managing resources. ICS is flexible and can be used for incidents of any type, scope and complexity. ICS allows its users to adopt an integrated organizational structure to match the complexities and demands of single or multiple incidents.
- Multiagency Coordination System is a process that allows all levels of government to work together more effectively. MACS occurs across different disciplines and can occur on a regular basis whenever personnel from different agencies interact
- Public Information Systems consist of processes, procedures, and systems for communicating timely, accurate, and accessible information related to an incident; its functions must be coordinated and integrated across jurisdictions and across functional agencies
The range of deliberate, critical tasks and activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the operational capability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents. Preparedness is a continuous process. Preparedness involves efforts at all levels of government and between government and private-sector and nongovernmental organizations to identify threats, determine vulnerabilities, and identify required resources. Within the NIMS, preparedness is operationally focused on establishing guidelines, protocols, and standards for planning, training and exercises, personnel qualification and certification, equipment certification, and publication management.
Efficient incident management requires a system for identifying available resources at all jurisdictional levels to enable timely and unimpeded access to resources needed to prepare for, respond to, or recover from an incident. Resource management under the NIMS includes mutual-aid agreements; the use of special Federal, State, local, and tribal teams; and resource mobilization protocols.
Communications and information management
NIMS requires incident management organizations to ensure that effective interoperable communications and information management processes, procedures and systems exist to support a wide variety of incident management activities across agencies and jurisdictions.
Federal Emergency Management Agency National Integration Center
FEMA's National Integration Center (NIC) has primary responsibility for the maintenance and management of national preparedness doctrine, to include the Goal, NPS, NIMS and the National Planning Frameworks. The NIC provides a national perspective and strategic direction for the NPS and the NIMS, as well as the routine maintenance and continuous improvement of these systems. The NIC develops strategies, doctrine, policies, guidance and best practices in collaboration with practitioners and subject matter experts from the whole community, across the five mission areas.
Additionally, the NIC facilitates, develops and issues national standardized resource typing definitions for resources commonly requested during situations necessitating interstate mutual aid. The NIC uses both measurable standards (including accepted industry and discipline standards) and input from stakeholders to ensure that these typed resources accurately reflect operational capabilities. Three key documents that speak to the NIC’s authority to facilitate, coordinate and/or conduct NIMS resource typing are the following:
Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 National Incident Management System (December 2008) Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness (March 2011) The NIC relies on its Strategic Resource Group - practitioners and subject matter expertise from state, tribal and local governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector – to assist with resource typing definitions. Job title/position qualifications for the credentialing of personnel. Local, state, territory,tribal and federal agencies and departments depend upon these definitions to identify and inventory their equipment, personnel and teams. NIMS resource management guidance is continually adjusted to reflect currency through lessons learned and after actions from incidents and events.