National incident management system (NIMS) is an approach to incident management, which is applied to jurisdictional levels and functional disciplines. It helps to improve the effectiveness of emergency response of providers as well as incident management organizations across hazard scenarios and potential incidents. In addition, the response improves cooperation and coordination between private and public entities in various domestic management activities. NIMS involvements include typhoons, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, aircraft accidents, nuclear accidents, floods and fires among others (FEMA, 2012). This paper will critically discuss the use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as well as how it assists federal, state and local government responsibilities with regard to Homeland Security.
NIMS uses a system to integrate its methods and approaches into a unified national framework to manage incidents, which form compatibility and interoperability basis. The basis enables diverse organizations both private and public, to have effective management of operations, which are integrated properly. To enhance this framework, NIMS is based on standardization and flexibility. NIMS provide adjustable, flexible and consistent framework in private and government entities, which manage all incidences. Likewise, it offers mitigation, recovery, response, preparedness, prevention and incident management across all phases. NIMS provides standardized organization structures to improve interoperability. Federal Emergency Management Agency explains that these structures include public information systems, multiagency coordination systems and ICS (incident command system).
NIMS has different components that make the system approach. One component of NIMS system framework is Command and Management. The structure has three organizational systems, where ICS is one of the organizational structures. The system defines emergency response organizations, incident management structure, interactive management concepts and operating characteristics that are engaged in incident life cycle (FEMA, 2012). The second organizational structure is multiagency coordination system. The system defines management entities, components and operating characteristics engaged at regional, tribal, local, state and federal jurisdictions through arrangements and agreements. Public information system (PIS) is another organizational system, which submits to systems, procedures, processes for communicating accurate and timely information during emergency or crisis to the public.
Preparedness is the second component of NIMS. The component comprises of activities, which enhance incident potential. These activities include publication management, certification standards, equipment acquisition, personal qualification and certification standards, exercises, training and planning. These activities ensure that the documents are standardized properly. Tribal, local, state, and federal jurisdictions are responsible for employing cycle preparedness in non-governmental and private sector organizations. Similarly, it reviews and approves discipline requirements submitted by associations and organizations. The component provides relevant training to the managers and professionals on incident management as well as reviewing the materials required. Organizations in the preparedness enter the resources and made it available to 911 centers and coordination entities. The third component is resource management. This component establishes requirements and standardized mechanisms for system components to recover, track, dispatch, mobilize, inventory and describe incident lifecycle.
The fourth component is information and communication management. This component enhances requirements for standardized information and communication management at all incident management levels. The component has different elements, which include information management, incident management communications, ongoing maintenance, management and supporting technologies. NIMS standards ensure wireless computing and communications for tribal, local, state and federal safety organizations are interoperable. Authentication is required by organizations accessing NIMS information system management, thus ensuring that information in the system is well protected. NIMS has integration center which develops and supports incident reports which support management efforts (Department of Health, 2012).
In conclusion, NIMS is based on standardization and flexibility. NIMS provides adjustable, flexible and consistent framework in private and government entities, which manage all incidences. Generally, the system defines management entities, components and operating characteristics engaged at regional, tribal, local, state and federal jurisdictions through arrangements and agreements.