15. NIMS is Applicable to All Stakeholders with Incident Related Responsibilities: What You Need to Know

What is NIMS?

NIMS stands for National Incident Management System, which is a framework for managing incidents of any size, scope, and complexity in the United States. According to FEMA, NIMS provides a common, nationwide approach to enable the whole community to work together to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from incidents.

NIMS applies across all levels of government, all types of organizations, and all phases of incident management. It is based on the following core components:

  • Key concepts and principles
  • Resource management
  • Command and coordination
  • Communications and information management
  • Joint information system
  • Training
  • Exercises
  • Continuous improvement

Why is NIMS Important?

NIMS is important because it helps to ensure a consistent and coordinated response to incidents that may involve multiple jurisdictions, agencies, disciplines, and organizations. By using NIMS, stakeholders can:

  • Enhance their situational awareness and decision-making
  • Share information and resources effectively
  • Establish common objectives and strategies
  • Reduce duplication of efforts and costs
  • Increase interoperability and compatibility
  • Improve accountability and performance

NIMS also supports the implementation of the National Preparedness System, which is a comprehensive approach to enhance the nation’s readiness for all hazards. According to FEMA, the National Preparedness System consists of six elements:

  • Identifying and assessing risks
  • Estimating capability requirements
  • Building and sustaining capabilities
  • Planning to deliver capabilities
  • Validating capabilities
  • Reviewing and updating

Who are the Stakeholders of NIMS?

The stakeholders of NIMS are all individuals and organizations that have incident related responsibilities. They include:

  • Federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local governments
  • Private sector entities and critical infrastructure owners and operators
  • Non-governmental organizations and voluntary agencies
  • Community-based organizations and faith-based groups
  • Individuals, families, and households

All stakeholders are expected to adopt and use NIMS in their incident management activities. They are also encouraged to participate in NIMS training, exercises, and continuous improvement processes.

How to Apply NIMS?

To apply NIMS effectively, stakeholders need to follow the NIMS Guiding Principles, which are:

  • Flexibility: NIMS can be adapted to any incident or event, regardless of its cause, size, location, or complexity.
  • Standardization: NIMS provides common terminology, standards, procedures, and protocols to facilitate interoperability and coordination.
  • Unity of Effort: NIMS enables stakeholders to work together toward shared goals and objectives through unified command and coordination structures.
  • Scalability: NIMS can be scaled up or down according to the needs and demands of each incident or event.
  • Adaptability: NIMS can be modified and updated based on lessons learned and best practices from real-world incidents or events.

To apply NIMS in practice, stakeholders need to follow the NIMS Implementation Objectives, which are:

  • Adopting the Incident Command System (ICS) as the standard for command and management of incidents.
  • Implementing the Multiagency Coordination System (MACS) to support coordination among various entities involved in incident management.
  • Establishing Public Information Systems (PIS) to manage internal and external communications during incidents.
  • Developing a common operating picture (COP) to provide situational awareness and support decision-making during incidents.
  • Managing resources effectively through typing, inventorying, ordering, tracking, mobilizing, demobilizing, reimbursing, and reporting.
  • Developing mutual aid agreements (MAAs) and assistance agreements (AAs) to facilitate resource sharing among stakeholders during incidents.
  • Developing plans consistent with a common planning process that integrates federal, state, tribal, territorial, local, private sector, non-governmental organization (NGO), community-based organization (CBO), faith-based organization (FBO), individual, family, household (IFH), regional planning mechanisms.
  • Developing processes for credentialing personnel and certifying equipment to ensure qualification standards for incident management activities.
  • Developing processes for collecting, analyzing, disseminating, storing, and archiving incident-related data and information.
  • Developing processes for conducting after action reviews (AARs) and corrective action plans (CAPs) to identify strengths and areas for improvement from incidents.


NIMS is applicable to all stakeholders with incident related responsibilities because it provides a common framework for managing incidents of any size, scope, and complexity in the United States. By adopting and using NIMS, stakeholders can enhance their preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities for all hazards.

Doms Desk

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