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National Incident Management System (NIMS)

The development and release of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a direct result of Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-5, issued in February 2003. HSPD-5 directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop, submit for review to the Homeland Security Council and administer a National Incident Management System. HSPD-5 states that a common incident management system is needed to provide a consistent nationwide template to enable federal, state, local, tribal governments, private-sector and nongovernmental organizations to effectively and efficiently prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size or complexity, including acts of catastrophic terrorism.

NIMS was released in March 2004 and came with several guidelines. For example, in order to receive future federal grants, jurisdictions are required to adopt NIMS in Fiscal Year 2005. While many airports may not receive federal grants for ARFF, it is expected that surrounding jurisdictions may. Those responders are likely in the process of becoming NIMS compliant. Therefore, a prudent thought is that operations involving off-airport agencies will require that all players speak the same language -- NIMS. As a special note, all federal departments and agencies are required to adopt and implement NIMS in their domestic incident management activities.

NIMS is not an incident command system, though ICS is part of the NIMS Command and Management component. The other components of NIMS are Preparedness, Resource Management, Communications and Information Management, Supporting Technologies, and Ongoing Management and Maintenance. Online training in NIMS awareness is currently available, and additional training programs are being developed. IS-700, NIMS, An Introduction, is currently available as an online program and materials are available to teach it in a classroom setting. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have developed an online source for NIMS information, the NIMS Integration Center, that provides information and tools for NIMS and the National Response Plan at www.fema.gov/nims/nims.shtm.


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