National Incident Management System

National Incident Management System (NIMS)

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The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a set of concepts and principles that describe a standardized methodology for the management of disasters and emergencies regardless of their cause, size, location, or complexity. NIMS identifies:

  • A comprehensive, nationwide systematic approach that is both scalable and flexible to manage all incidents
  • A core set of doctrine, concepts, principles, terminology and organizational processes for all hazards
  • Essential principles for a common operating picture and interoperability of communications and information management
  • Standardized resource management procedures for coordination among different jurisdictions and organizations

Key Benefits of NIMS:

  • Enhances organizational and technological interoperability and cooperation
  • Provides a scalable and flexible framework with universal applicability
  • Promotes all-hazards preparedness
  • Enables a wide variety of organizations to participate effectively in emergency management/incident response
  • Institutionalizes professional emergency management/incident response practices

NIMS Audience:

NIMS is applicable to all incidents and all levels of stakeholders, including levels of government, private sector organizations, critical infrastructure owners and operators, nongovernmental organizations and all other organizations who assume a role in emergency management. Elected and appointed officials and policy makers, who are responsible for jurisdictional policy decisions, must also have a clear understanding of NIMS to better serve their constituency.

NIMS Components:

Built on existing structures, particularly it's three primary pillars, the Multi Agency Coordination System (MACS), Public Information and the Incident Command System, NIMS creates a proactive system to assist those responding to incidents or planned events. To unite the practice of emergency management and incident response throughout the country, NIMS focuses on five key areas, or components. These components link together and work in unison to form a larger and comprehensive incident management system.

NIMS Components include:

  • Preparedness
  • Communications and Information Management
  • Resource Management
  • Command and Management
  • Ongoing Management and Maintenance

What NIMS is NOT:

  • A response plan
  • Only used during large-scale incidents
  • Only applicable to certain emergency management/incident response personnel
  • Only the Incident Command System (ICS) or an organizational chart