What is NIMS?
NIMS stands for National Incident Management System. It is a standardized approach to incident management developed by the United States Department of Homeland Security. The program was established in March 2004, in response to Homeland Security Presidential Directive -5, issued by President George W. Bush.
According to FEMA, the agency that oversees NIMS, the system guides all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector to work together to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from incidents. NIMS provides stakeholders across the whole community with the shared vocabulary, systems and processes to successfully deliver the capabilities described in the National Preparedness System.
NIMS defines operational systems that guide how personnel work together during incidents. These include:
- The Incident Command System (ICS), which provides a common organizational structure and command authority for managing incidents of any size or complexity.
- The National Qualification System (NQS), which establishes minimum standards and qualifications for incident personnel and resources.
- The Resource Typing Library Tool (RTLT), which defines and categorizes incident resources by capability, size, composition and other characteristics.
- The Mutual Aid Agreements (MAAs), which facilitate the sharing of resources and services among jurisdictions and organizations during emergencies.
- The Command and Control Systems, which include the Multiagency Coordination System (MACS), the Public Information System (PIS) and the Joint Information System (JIS), which enable effective coordination and communication among incident stakeholders.
Who are the Stakeholders with Incident Related Responsibilities?
The stakeholders with incident related responsibilities are those who have a role or interest in managing or supporting an incident. They include:
- Local, state, tribal, territorial and federal government agencies
- Nongovernmental organizations such as voluntary, faith-based, community-based and private sector entities
- Critical infrastructure owners and operators
- Individuals, families and communities
Is NIMS Applicable to All Stakeholders with Incident Related Responsibilities?
The answer is true. NIMS is applicable to all stakeholders with incident related responsibilities. This means that all stakeholders are expected to adopt and implement NIMS principles and practices in their emergency management programs and activities.
By adopting NIMS, stakeholders can:
- Enhance their preparedness and resilience
- Improve their interoperability and collaboration
- Streamline their resource management and mutual aid
- Increase their situational awareness and information sharing
- Reduce duplication of efforts and costs
- Support a unified approach to incident management
How Can Stakeholders Implement NIMS?
Stakeholders can implement NIMS by following the guidance and tools provided by FEMA and the National Integration Center (NIC). These include:
- The NIMS Training Program, which offers online and classroom courses on various aspects of NIMS for different audiences and levels of responsibility.
- The NIMS Implementation Objectives, which outline the specific actions that stakeholders need to take to align their emergency management programs with NIMS.
- The NIMS Resource Center, which provides access to various documents, publications, webinars, podcasts and other resources on NIMS.
Stakeholders can also contact their FEMA Regional NIMS Coordinators for assistance and support on NIMS implementation.
NIMS is a comprehensive system that enables all stakeholders with incident related responsibilities to work together effectively during emergencies. By adopting and implementing NIMS, stakeholders can improve their emergency management capabilities and outcomes. Therefore, it is true that NIMS is applicable to all stakeholders with incident related responsibilities.