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Evaluating an incident command system

We will now explore an example of an ICS, the US National Incident Management System (NIMS).

NIMS could be summarised as:

The common, interoperable approach to sharing resources, coordinating and managing incidents, and communicating information (FEMA 2017).

It stipulates how to manage emergencies through six components:

  1. Command and management
  2. Preparedness
  3. Resource management
  4. Communications and information management
  5. Supporting technologies
  6. Ongoing management and maintenance

Read the supporting guide to the US NIMS and download the PDF available from the tab titled National Incident Management System (NIMS) Doctrine. You should read the first two parts of section III of this document, Command and Coordination (FEMA 2017:19-34). The PDF is also available from the Reference section at the foot of the step.

You may also be interested in reading one of many examinations of incident command systems and the NIMS system such as the article by Donald Moynihan, who compares the hierarchical and networking capabilities of NIMS against a number of case studies.

Your task

Does the NIMS clarify the basis for command?

What are the advantages of a unified command and unity of command based structure?


FEMA (2017) National Incident Management System [online] available from https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1508151197225-ced8c60378c3936adb92c1a3ee6f6564/FINAL_NIMS_2017.pdf [17 April 2018]

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This article is from the free online course:

Emergency Management: Risk, Incidents and Leadership

Coventry University