NIMS Implementation Update
Vol 21 No 4
According to my calendar we are well along into the next hurricane season. For all but the devoted hockey fans of the Carolina Hurri-canes (who incidentally won their first Stanley Cup) hurricanes conjure up some significant concern. The first named tropical storm (Alberto) has already come and gone, with predictions of another active hurricane season causing many emergency managers to begin reevaluating their emergency response plans. Part of this review should focus hopefully on your organization's current preparations for NIMS Implementation before the September 2006 deadline. We touched on NIMS and ICS in previous articles, but I thought it appropriate to discuss this again. Most organizations I have done training and consulting for thus far this year are in varying stages of NIMS preparation and certainly I have encountered organizations that haven't even begun. If the topic of NIMS is completely new to you, let's take a moment to review what NIMS is and what you can do to better prepare your organization.
What is NIMS?
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) was developed by the Department of Homeland Security to integrate emergency preparedness and response practices into a national framework for incident management. The stated purpose of NIMS is "to enable responders at all levels to work together more effectively to manage domestic incidents no matter what the cause, size, or complexity." Some of the goals of NIMS are to standardize procedures, planning, training, and exercising; qualify emergency personnel; make communication systems and procedures interoperable; and establish information and communication technologies.
NIMS provides the common operational concepts and basic organizational structure needed to ensure seamless transitions and integration of resources. This compatibility and interoperability is critical particularly for incidents that exceed local boundaries, and even more particularly for those less frequent incidents that require support from federal resources. It is equally critical that the private sector play a key role in this system and process, since 85 percent of the country's assets are owned by the private sector. Additionally, many resources needed for disaster response and recovery reside with the private sector.
Is NIMS Mandatory?
Yes it is. All federal, state, local, tribal, private sector and non-governmental personnel with a direct role in emergency management and response must be NIMS and ICS trained. This includes all emergency services related disciplines such as EMS, hospitals, public health, fire service, law enforcement, public works/utilities, skilled support personnel, and other emergency management response, support and volunteer personnel.
What Can I Do to Get Started?
You can begin by scheduling entry level training in the following courses:
o FEMA IS-700: NIMS, An Introduction
o ICS-100: Introduction to ICS or equivalent
All personnel with a direct role in emergency preparedness, incident management or response must complete IS-700 NIMS, An Introduction, which is a Web-based awareness level course that explains NIMS components, concepts and principles. All entry, first line supervisor, middle management, and command and general staff level of emergency management operations must complete ICS-100 level training; first line supervisors and above must complete ICS-200.
Emergency managers and personnel with incident management as their primary responsibility also must complete IS-800 National Response Plan (NRP): An Introduction, a Web-based awareness level course that introduces key elements of the National Response Plan.
Industrial Emergency Response Organizations are asked to promote mutual aid agreements, use plain English in emergency operations, and see to it that NIMS components are incorporated into emergency plans and procedures. Other required activities involve training, exercises and resource management planning, such as taking an inventory of response assets and developing plans for ordering, tracking, receiving and returning resources as outlined in the NRP.
NIMS-related activities that Industrial Emergency Response Organizations will need to accomplish over the course of FY 2006 include officially adopting NIMS throughout the organization, and using the NIMS-based Incident Command System (ICS) organizational structures and operational procedures to manage emergency incidents.
Where to Go for More Information
The following website http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/nims.shtm has considerable information regarding NIMS implementation and several tools and resources are available to help you. In addition, consulting with an emergency response planning company specializing in NIMS implementation would also be worthwhile to consider, especially when it comes to design and evaluation of training and exercises for your organization.
Until next time, remember work SMARTER not HARDER!
Comments? Questions? Is there an Industrial Fire Training topic you would like to see covered in this column? Please email me at email@example.com. Attila Hertelendy is an instructor with the University of Nevada, Reno - Fire Science Academy and President and CEO of Great White Emergency Medical Solutions, Inc. a training and emergency response