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The National Incident Management System

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The National Incident Management System
Our experiences of domestic terrorist attacks have taught us many things. For one, it showed how the localized structures and preparedness are not sufficient to effectively and efficiently respond to actual events and threats. It showed how the involvement of agencies at various levels of government could have increased response capacity and how a national approach could have ensured a level of preparedness that is proportionate to the levels of threat that may be experienced. Thus, the National Incident Management System developed standards operating procedures or codes to enhance the different areas of incident management, principles, planning, organization, training, logistics and actual practice that have been implemented nationwide as a requisite for obtaining preparedness budgets FEMA. The result was the formation of the Integrated Command System, Multi Agency Support Systems as well as public information systems (NIMS 2008 Page 1). .
These systems ensure the harnessing of resources from the different agencies, levels of government and stakeholders in terms of capacities personnel, finances, logistics or technology. It also enables the smooth working relationship and coordination among these entities in jointly responding to incidents under a common framework and organizational structure NIMS Online. This increased the quality of response to much higher levels, especially which current practices are regularly assessed in to determine areas of further improvement (NIMS 2008 Page 1). .
The National Incident Management System is observed as an effective model that can benefit Homeland Security not only on the local but also on the state level. To be successful on the state level is much more difficult process than on the local one, because it demands an efficient coordination across a broad spectrum of organizations and activities, including involvement of emergency responders, equipment and personnel from other states. Observing an incident on the state level, success of operations is dependent on effective mobilization and utilization of outside resources. Everybody has to understand that these resources must be organized and utilize a common plan, so as it is stated through an incident action planning process. Thus, resources are expected to be integrated with a purpose of providing effective attack to a common problem and the system is flexible to adapt all circumstances. In case when all basic principles expressed in NIMS will be implemented, significant progress is guaranteed.
A basic premise of NIMS is that all incidents begin and end locally. NIMS don’t take command away from State and local authorities. NIMS simply provide the framework to enhance the ability of responders, including the private sector and NGOs, to work together more effectively. The Federal Government supports State and local authorities when their resources are overwhelmed or anticipated to be overwhelmed. Federal departments and agencies respect the sovereignty and responsibilities of local, tribal, and State governments while rendering assistance. The intention of the Federal Government in these situations is not to command the response, but rather to support the affected local, tribal, and/or State governments (NIMS 2008 Page 121). .
Preparedness is essential for effective incident and emergency management and involves engaging in a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action to achieve and maintain readiness to respond to emergencies. As such, the NIMS Preparedness Component serves as a baseline concept that links all the NIMS Components. Preparedness spans jurisdictions, governments, agencies and organizations. Though individuals certainly play a critical role in preparedness and are expected to prepare themselves and their families for all types of potential incidents, they are not directly included in NIMS preparedness. NIM primarily discusses the preparedness role for governments; organizations geared specifically toward preparedness, elected and appointed officials, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector (NIMS 2008 Page 3). Homeland Security recognizes that the overwhelming majority of emergency incidents are handled on a daily basis by a single jurisdiction at the local level. However, the challenges we face as a nation are far greater than the capabilities of any one community or state, but no greater than the sum of all of us working together. There will be instances in which successful domestic incident management operations depend on the involvement of emergency responders from multiple jurisdictions, as well as personnel and equipment from other states and the federal government. These instances require effective and efficient coordination across a broad spectrum of organizations and activities. The success of the operations will depend on the ability to mobilize and effectively utilize multiple outside resources. These resources must come together in an organizational framework that is understood by everyone and must utilize a common plan, as specified through a process of incident action planning. This will only be possible if we unite, plan, exercise and respond using a common National Incident Management System. Throughout the transition to the National Incident Management System, it is important to remember why we have the NIMS and why ICS is a critical piece of the incident management system. Most incidents are local, but when we're faced with the worst-case scenario, such as
Sept.11, 2001, all responding agencies must be able to interface and work together. The NIMS, and in particular, the ICS component, allow that to happen, but only if the foundation has been laid at the local level. If local jurisdictions adopt a variation of ICS that cannot grow or is not applicable to other disciplines, the critical interface between responding agencies and jurisdictions cannot occur when the response expands (NIMS 2008 Page 8). It is important that everyone understand that with the establishment of the NIMS, there is only one ICS. As agencies adopt the principles and concepts of ICS as established in the NIMS, the incident command system can expand to meet the needs of the response, regardless of the size or number of responders. The key to both NIMS and ICS is a balance between standardization and flexibility. The NIMS Integration Center (NIC) is working towards a common understanding and application of the ICS. As the office established to manage and oversee the entire NIMS, the Center will continue its collaboration with stakeholders at all levels of government and across all response disciplines. The initial staff is detailed from other parts of DHS, including FEMA, the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP) and the Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate. As the NIMS Integration Center continues to grow it will evolve into robust, fully integrated center that will incorporate additional DHS employees, interagency detailers and liaisons, as well as state, tribal and local government representatives.

The National Incident Management System December 2008, retrieve from United States Department of Homeland Security. (2008a). The National Incident Management System. Washington DC: DHS…...

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