National Incident Management System (NIMS)

What is the National Incident Management System?

  • Comprehensive, nationwide systematic approach to incident management
  • 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
  • Scalable and applicable for all incidents

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, such as the Incident Command System (ICS), 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

NIMS Training

The NIMS Training Program defines the national NIMS training program as it relates to the NIMS components of Preparedness, Communications and Information Management, Resource Management and Command and Management. It specifies NIC and stakeholder responsibilities and activities for developing, maintaining and sustaining NIMS training. The NIMS Training Program outlines responsibilities and activities that are consistent with the National Training Program, as mandated by the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006. This program integrates with FEMA training offered through the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and United States Fire Administration (USFA).

The NIMS Training Program is intended for emergency management officials and administrators responsible for budgets, planning and procurement, who require guidance on the development and provision of NIMS training. The NIMS Training Program informs federal, state, tribal, territorial and local policy-makers; elected and appointed officials; government emergency management agencies and trainers (i.e. state, tribal, territorial and local NIMS Coordinators); managers overseeing those in mission-critical positions and organizations and professional development; human resource managers setting and overseeing personnel policies and personnel with responsibility to develop NIMS-related guidance or training, credentialing, or personnel qualifications information.

Everyone involved in emergency management (to include emergency operation center personnel in support of the field), regardless of discipline or level of government, should take the NIMS baseline curriculum courses (Independent Study-700 and ICS-100). Incident command occurs in the field; therefore, the NIC recommends that only individuals with a command and general staff role take advanced ICS courses. Fulfilling the training associated with this plan helps emergency management organizations, departments and agencies to develop preparedness capabilities for effective and efficient incident management. As a result, trained emergency responders are available as mutual aid to support incident management in other jurisdictions, if requested. The NIMS Training Program should sustain a personnel qualification system that is coordinated, maintained and meets the needs of the emergency management community.

Elected and appointed officials should have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities for successful emergency management and incident response. To that end, it is vital that elected and appointed officials understand and receive NIMS training. Therefore, FEMA recommends the following training for senior elected and appointed officials:

  • G-402 Incident Command System (ICS) Overview for Executives/Senior Officials
  • G-191 Incident Command System/Emergency Operations Center Interface
  • Additional training based on jurisdiction risk and/or specific interest

To view a copy of the NIMS Training Program document, which contains a list of all the required training classes, access this link: 

Most of the ICS/NIMS classes, with the exception of ICS-300 and ICS-400, can be taken on-line at FEMA’s Independent Study Website  FEMA Independent Study

Registration for ICS-300 and ICS-400 classes is via the Ohio EMA Training Website  Ohio EMA Training