FEMA Releases Refreshed Nat’l Incident Mgt System (NIMS)

By The U.S. Fire Administration

This year’s active hurricane and fire seasons highlight the importance of working together before, during, and after disasters of all types and sizes.

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) provides a common, nationwide approach to enable the whole community to work together to manage all threats and hazards.

(Learn More. Emergency Film Group’s ‘NIMS: Introduction to the National Incident Management System’ DVD provides NIMS video training describing response protocols for hazardous materials, terrorist and other major incidents. Courtesy of Emergency Film Group and YouTube)

Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the refreshed NIMS to ensure that this important guidance continues to reflect the collective expertise of the whole community.

NIMS applies to all incidents, regardless of cause, size, location or complexity.

(Learn More. Courtesy of Bridgette Smith and YouTube. Posted on Aug 14, 2013)

Through an iterative process of engagement with stakeholders from across the nation, FEMA reviewed more than 3,000 comments to update NIMS guidance and incorporate the collective expertise and experience of the whole community.

The Refreshed NIMS:

  • Retains key concepts and principles of the 2004 and 2008 versions of NIMS.
  • Reflects and incorporates policy updates from lessons learned from exercises and real-world incidents and disasters.
  • Clarifies the processes and terminology for qualifying, certifying and credentialing incident personnel, building a foundation for the development of a national qualification system.
  • Clarifies that NIMS is more than just the Incident Command System (ICS), and that it applies to all incident personnel, from the incident command post to the National Response Coordination Center.
  • Describes common functions and terminology for staff in Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), while remaining flexible to allow for differing missions, authorities and resources of EOCs across the nation.
  • Explains the relationship among ICS, EOCs and senior leaders/policy groups.

FEMA will host a series of 60-minute webinars to discuss the updates in the refreshed NIMS and answer questions related to NIMS.

The webinars will be open to the whole community.

American Security Today

NIMS guides all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations (NGO), and the private sector to work together to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from incidents.

NIMS provides stakeholders across the whole community with the shared vocabulary, systems, and processes to successfully deliver the capabilities described in the National Preparedness System.

NIMS defines operational systems, including the Incident Command System (ICS), Emergency Operations Center (EOC) structures, and Multiagency Coordination Groups (MAC Groups) that guide how personnel work together during incidents.

NIMS applies to all incidents, from traffic accidents to major disasters.

Please refer to the descriptions below to gain an understanding of where to locate certain information.

NIMS Doctrine Supporting Guides & Tools:

The National Incident Management System (NIMS)
The National Incident Management System (NIMS)
  • The National Integration Center develops supporting guides and tools to assist jurisdictions in their implementation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS).


  • The NIMS Training Program defines the national NIMS training program.
  • It specifies National Integration Center and stakeholder responsibilities and activities for developing, maintaining and sustaining NIMS training.

Resource Management & Mutual Aid: 

  • National resource management efforts aid a unified approach in building and delivering the core capabilities across all five mission areas (Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response and Recovery).
  • Effective resource management is founded on the guiding principles of the NIMS.

Implementation Guidance & Reporting:

To reduce these errors in judgment, firefighter training should focus on increasing awareness of this problem and provide firefighters with repeated exposure to challenging obstacles. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Fire Administration)
(Image courtesy of the U.S. Fire Administration)
  • Federal Departments and agencies are required to make adoption of NIMS by local, state, territorial, and tribal nation jurisdictions a condition to receive Federal Preparedness grants and awards.

NIMS Alerts: 

  • The National Integration Center announces the release of new NIMS guidance, tools, and other resources through the distribution of NIMS Alerts.

FEMA NIMS Regional Contacts: 

The FEMA Regional NIMS Coordinators act as subject matter experts regarding NIMS for the local, state, territorial, and tribal nation governments within their FEMA Region, as well as for the FEMA Regional Administrator and staff.

Incident Command System Resources: 

  • The Incident Command System (ICS) is a fundamental element of incident management.
  • The use of ICS provides standardization through consistent terminology and established organizational structures.

To review the refreshed NIMS document and for additional webinar information, visit: https://www.fema.gov/national-incident-management-system.

FEMA continues to support strengthening the security and resilience of the nation by working to improve the ability of all to manage incidents, events and emergencies.

The U.S. Fire Administration recommends everyone should have a comprehensive home fire protection plan that includes smoke alarms, fire sprinklers, and practicing a fire escape plan.