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What is NIMS?

nims processesWhat is NIMS and how does it apply to UAH?

NIMS is the National Incident Management System. NIMS is being adopted across the U.S. and many parts of the world as the standard organizational structure for responding to and managing emergencies. It represents a core set of principles, concepts, terminology, and organizational processes. NIMS helps define roles and responsibilities during a disaster and provides a standard organizational structure to help improve communication and integration among emergency response agencies and their different disciplines.

Standardization is important to multi-agency responses. NIMS is based on best practices and integrates them into a comprehensive standardized framework in order to promote a collaborative incident management environment. NIMS is flexible and scalable so that its principles can be applied to any size incident. Public universities in Alabama are expected to implement NIMS.

What is the NIMS Incident Command System (ICS)?

Historically, the reason for most incident response failures has been the lack of a strong incident management process, rather than a lack of planning or resources. NIMS seeks to address this issue by employing the Incident Command System (ICS). FEMA describes ICS as follows:

ICS is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazard incident management concept. It allows its users to adopt an integrated organizational structure that matches the complexities and demands of incidents. ICS permits seamless integration of responders from all jurisdictions, and can be used for incidents of any type, scope, and complexity.

UAH employs an ICS management approach to disaster and crisis response. Utilizing ICS helps ensure the safety of responders, students, faculty, staff, and others and it aids in achieving response objectives and in the effective use of resources.

For more information on NIMS and ICS visit FEMA's NIMS Resource Center. For information on NIMS and ICS training, visit our Training Resources web page or contact Kevin Bennett.

Your Role in NIMS

You have an important role in helping to ensure the University's utilization of ICS is effective by:

  • Respecting the emergency management chain of command, which may be different than your normal day-to-day chain of command;
  • Reporting critical information to the emergency operations center;
  • Helping to ensure that all response activities are coordinated through the ICS command post or emergency operations center;
  • Never self-deploying to a crisis or disaster location - always check in with the emergency operations center BEFORE attempting to contribute to a response or recovery effort.