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FEMA launches updated National Incident Management System

On October 17th 2017 FEMA announced the release of the refreshed National Incident Management System (NIMS) doctrine. NIMS ‘provides a common, nationwide approach to enable the whole community to work together to manage all threats and hazards’. NIMS applies to all incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity.

During April and May 2016, FEMA held a ‘National Engagement Period’, where nearly 3,000 comments were submitted on the draft NIMS update. These were considered and helped inform the changes in the refreshed NIMS.

The new NIMS version retains key concepts and principles from the 2004 and 2008 versions, while incorporating lessons learned from exercises and real-world incidents, best practices, and changes in national policy.

FEMA says it also:

  • Clarifies the processes and terminology for qualifying, certifying, and credentialing incident personnel, building a foundation for the development of a national qualification system;
  • Clarifies that NIMS is more than just the Incident Command System (ICS) and that it applies to all incident personnel, from the incident command post to the National Response Coordination Center;
  • Describes common functions and terminology for staff in Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), while remaining flexible to allow for differing missions, authorities, and resources of EOCs across the nation;
  • Explains the relationship among ICS, EOCs, and senior leaders/policy groups.

FEMA will host a series of 60-minute webinars with stakeholders to discuss the updates and answer questions. More information about the webinars go to

More information on NIMS.

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