In 2004, the Department of Homeland Security published the National Incident Management System (NIMS) in efforts to provide a consistent template to enable government agencies, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations to collaborate in the preparation, response, recovery and mitigation of incidents. Regardless of size, location, or complexity of an incident, the nationwide system provides a common foundation to reduce the loss of life, property, and harm to the environment in the event of an incident.
However, a critical tool in promoting the implementation of NIMS is a well-developed training program. Implementing the NIMS Training Program is a critical component of a National Training Program, mandated by the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006. Federal policy requires jurisdictions, organizations, or companies to meet NIMS compliance requirements as a condition for receiving Federal preparedness assistance, grants, and/or contracts.
The goal of the NIMS training program is to create a well-coordinated, sustainable program that meets the operational needs of the emergency management and incident response community. The following NIMS concepts should be included in preparedness and response training programs:
Preparedness - Incorporating a coordinated, unified approach to emergency management and incident response activities based on chain of command and unity of effort, implementation, and command is the basis for achieving preparedness. According to NIMS, there are five preparedness elements that build the foundation for effective and efficient response and recovery:
- Procedures and Protocols
- Training and Exercises
- Personnel Qualifications and Certification
- Equipment Certification
Communications and Information Management - Utilizing flexible communications and information systems allows emergency management and response personnel to maintain a constant flow of information throughout an incident. Principles of communication and information management should incorporate the following components:
- Cohesive communication procedures
Resource Management - Managing preparedness and response resources (personnel, teams, facilities, equipment, and/or supplies) to meet incident needs allows for a more efficient and effective response. The foundations of resource management include:
- Utilizing agreements and contracts
- Organizing and categorizing resources
- Identifying and ordering resources
- Effectively managing resources
Command and Management - Highlighting the systems used to facilitate Command and Management operations/responsibilities for the single incident commander, unified command, command staff, incident command organization, and/or general staff. These systems may include:
- Incident Command Systems (ICS)
- Multiagency Coordination Systems (MACS)
- Public Information Systems
Ongoing Management and Maintenance - Sustaining the administration duties and implementation of NIMS as put forth by the National Integration Center (NIC), and utilizing improved technologies, will ensure regulatory compliance and enhance management capabilities.
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