The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a framework that provides a common approach for managing incidents of any size, scope, and complexity in the United States. It was developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to the 9/11 attacks and the Hurricane Katrina disaster, which revealed the need for a standardized and coordinated system for emergency response.
NIMS is based on the principle that incidents should be managed at the lowest possible level, with support from higher levels as needed. It also emphasizes the importance of collaboration and coordination among all stakeholders involved in an incident, such as federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector entities.
NIMS is applicable to all stakeholders with incident related responsibilities, meaning that anyone who has a role or function in preparing for, responding to, recovering from, or mitigating an incident should follow the NIMS guidelines and principles. This includes emergency managers, first responders, public officials, public health and medical professionals, utility workers, volunteers, community organizations, and citizens
Benefits of NIMS
By applying NIMS to all incidents, stakeholders can achieve several benefits, such as:
- Enhanced situational awareness and information sharing across jurisdictions and disciplines
- Improved resource management and allocation based on incident needs and priorities
- Reduced duplication of efforts and confusion among responders
- Increased interoperability and compatibility of equipment, systems, and processes
- Strengthened preparedness and resilience of communities and organizations
- Increased accountability and transparency of incident operations and outcomes
Components of NIMS
NIMS consists of six major components that provide the foundation for effective incident management. These are:
- Command and Coordination: This component establishes the leadership structure and processes for managing an incident, such as the Incident Command System (ICS), the Multiagency Coordination System (MACS), and the Public Information System (PIS).
- Resource Management: This component describes how to identify, request, acquire, mobilize, track, demobilize, and reimburse resources needed for an incident.
- Communications and Information Management: This component defines the requirements and standards for ensuring timely, accurate, accessible, and secure exchange of information among stakeholders during an incident.
- Planning: This component outlines how to develop, maintain, and execute plans for incident prevention, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation.
- Operational Coordination: This component describes how to coordinate operational activities among various entities involved in an incident, such as establishing objectives, strategies, tactics, operational periods, and performance measures.
- Training and Exercises: This component provides guidance on how to design, conduct, evaluate, and improve training and exercises for NIMS implementation.
NIMS is a comprehensive and flexible framework that enables all stakeholders with incident related responsibilities to work together effectively and efficiently during any type of emergency or disaster. By following NIMS principles and practices, stakeholders can enhance their preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation capabilities. NIMS also helps to ensure a consistent and unified approach for managing incidents across the nation.