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The Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Incident Management System

Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-5, Management of Domestic Incidents, directed the development and administration of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable Federal, State, local  and tribal governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to work together to:

  • prevent,
  • protect against,
  • respond to,
  • recover from, and
  • mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity.

NIMS works hand in hand with the National Response Framework (NRF). NIMS provides the template for the management of incidents, while the NRF provides the structure and mechanisms for national-level policy for incident management. NIMS represents a core set of doctrines, concepts, principles, terminology, and organizational processes that enables effective, efficient, and collaborative incident management. NIMS includes:

  • a unified approach to incident management called the Incident Command System (ICS);
  • standard command and management structures; and
  • an emphasis on preparedness, mutual aid and resource management.

EPA's Office of Emergency Management began implementation of NIMS in 2005 providing ICS training to On Scene Coordinators and Response Support Corp members. Training concepts are tested during annual exercises both at the regional and national level. Additionally, each region has established Incident Management Teams, with trained and EPA certified personnel in ICS Key Leadership Positions (KLP) which are critical to EPA responses.

EPA has also established a National Incident Management Assistance Team (NIMAT) to provide support to impacted regions during large scale or long duration responses such as hurricanes or earthquakes. The NIMAT provides a team of ICS experts who can provide coaching or step in to a KLP when needed. The NIMAT is deployed to support the region by the National Incident Coordinator (Director, Office of Emergency Management) in consultation with the impacted region.