National Incident Management System
Integral to the EOP implementation is the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS was initially developed within the wildfire protection services to establish authorities, capabilities, responsibilities, and consistency between organizations and agencies in the implementation of wildfire control efforts. NIMS provides a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life and property and harm to the environment.
The Secretary of Homeland Security, through the National Integration Center (NIC), publishes the standards, guidelines, and compliance protocols for determining whether a Federal, State, Tribal, or local government has implemented NIMS. Additionally, the Secretary, through the NIC, manages publication and collaboratively, with other departments and agencies, develops standards, guidelines, compliance procedures, and protocols for all aspects of NIMS.
NIMS standards include the development of educational resources for emergency responders at all levels of response. Some NIMS classes can be taken as Independent Study (online courses), as seminars, formal training, and on-the-job training.
The NIMS Compliance Assistance Support Tool (NIMSCAST) is designed as the premier, web-based self-assessment instrument for Federal Departments and agencies as well as State, territorial, tribal, local governments to evaluate and report their jurisdiction's progress and achievement of NIMS implementation activities released since 2004.
The NIMSCAST is designed for the emergency management community as a comprehensive self-assessment support tool. Using the NIMSCAST will assist the nation's emergency management community to meet NIMS requirements, as determined by the National Integration Center.
Additionally, Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-5 requires Federal Departments and agencies to make adoption of the NIMS by State, Tribal, and local organizations a condition for Federal preparedness assistance. The NIMSCAST facilitates the adoption of the NIMS by State, local, and tribal governments in order to meet the requirement established in HSPD-5.
Emergency Managers create an account within the FEMA managed NIMSCAST interface to annually report their jurisdiction’s compliance with several NMIS related conformity requirements. The overall purpose of NIMSCAST is to verify and establish a jurisdiction’s implementation of the National Incident Management System.
In order for an Emergency Manager to complete the forms within the NIMSCAST reporting, detailed information about the NIMS training and emergency service capabilities of employees of the jurisdiction are needed. It can take Emergency Managers months to conduct learning surveys of staff and arrange exercises, verify documents, and coordinate participation within the jurisdiction.
In 2011, Kamiak Environmental developed a jurisdictional web application for tracking NIMS compliance over a secure internet connection called the NIMS Training Tracker. The program establishes a Tribe or County profile by name, users establish their login with password, then the Emergency Manager of the jurisdiction identifies the Department the staff or community member is a part of. Four levels of NIMS Training Tracker users are identified as Staff, Principal, Administrator, and Coordinator. Users receive communications from the administration of NIMS Training Tracker through e-mail as each staff member develops a Learning Plan in coordination with their Principal. The Principals coordinate with the Administrator (generally a supervisor within the jurisdiction’s Departments) to verify time allocation of the paid staff member to dedicate to NIMS training. Principals and Administrators coordinate with the NIMS Coordinator. The NIMS Coordinator is generally the Emergency Manager of the jurisdiction. The Emergency Manager is often the arranger of capabilities within the jurisdiction and the one completing the NIMSCAST reports to FEMA.
Within the NIMS Training Tracker program is the “Learning Plan” section where staff are assigned course responsibilities within NIMS and NWCG. There are several NIMS class collections called “Curriculum Groups” to aid NIMS implementers to select general levels of training (Awareness, Basic, Intermediate, Advanced). Staff and their Principal identify emergency response training courses suitable to the staff member’s responsibilities in an emergency response.
The staff member accepts the course assignment (clicks on the check box next to the class), the Principal verifies it to show concurrence with the course selections. When the staff member completes the course the staff member records the date of completion, checks the accompanying box, and clicks on “Save Learning Plan”. When the staff member does this, an e-mail is automatically sent to the Principal sending notification of the course’s completion while a proof of completion (course certificate) is sent to the Principal by the staff member. When the Principal can confirm the completion of the course, the class is then promoted to the “Transcripts” section where the staff member’s courses are listed with the name of each course, date of completion, and provider of the course (NIMS or NWCG).
The jurisdiction’s Emergency Manager can generate a NIMSCAST report automatically from the NIMS Training Tracker Program identifying staff responsibility levels (Entry-level first responders, First Line Supervisor, Emergency Management and Response Personnel in middle management, or Emergency Management and Response Personnel in command and general staff) accompanied by their training achievements (IS-700, IS-701, IS-702, IS-703, IS-704, IS-800, IS-100, IS-200, ICS-300, ICS-400). This feature of the NIMS Training Tracker can save the jurisdiction’s Emergency Manager days of seeking confirmations, verifying records, and condensing them into one report. The NIMS Training Tracker program delivers it to the Emergency Manager instantly.
More than reporting, the NIMS Training Tracker is an excellent tool for the jurisdiction to compile a resources and capabilities preparedness profile for responding to local emergencies.
The NIMS Training Tracker includes course curriculum groups for 15 Emergency Support Functions (ESF) identified by the National Integration Center. These course selections include several selections of courses specific to each ESF. For instance the Curriculum Group ESF#3 (Public Works and Engineering) might be selected by staff of the jurisdiction’s Public Works Department to assure compliance and preparedness for jurisdictional response within these responsibilities. At the same time, the staff in the Emergency Management Department may apply the courses from Curriculum Group ESF#5 (Emergency Management).
NIMS Training Tracker participants can participate in Exercise Program events within the jurisdiction, or as provided by other jurisdictions. The exercises may come in the form of a Drill, Table-top Exercise, Functional Exercise, or Full-scale Exercise. The NIMS Training Tracker provides a way to identify the assignment of participation in the exercise, verify participation, and confirm activity after the event is concluded to further document staff awareness and understanding. It creates an efficient and consistent method for the staff and administrators of a jurisdiction to verify participation and functional understanding.
Beyond training courses in NIMS (612 courses) and NWCG (203 courses), the NIMS Training Tracker includes a feature previously available only within the NWCG programs called the Task Book. We made it available to all NIMS Training Tracker users. This tracking tool makes it possible for staff within the program to document their Incident Response duties, incident type, location and their position on the incident, with verifications by the responder’s supervisor and Principal. When entered into the system, the Task Book documents capabilities as demonstrated on real responses.
Take a Look
The NIMS training Tracker was developed and is hosted by Kamiak Environmental, LLC. When FEMA or NWCG announce a course change, or new course, we make the updates to the NIMS Training Tracker database. Our clients establish a Tribe, County, or Company name for the jurisdiction as Kamiak Environmental staff work with the client’s Emergency Manager and NIMS Training Tracker users to understand the system and begin implementing the record transference to the database. When entered, these records are stored securely where they cannot be viewed by other jurisdictions. Only the authorized users see these records.
If you are interested in taking a look at how the system operates, we invite you to look at our company’s profile in the NIMS Training Tracker. We are not a County, nor are we a Tribe, but we have adopted the NIMS philosophy in the company’s management. We work with our clients to develop FEMA Hazard Mitigation Plans and Emergency Operations Plans. Many of our staff have embraced NIMS classes and created Learning Plans and Transcripts. A few of our staff have worked in the Wildfire Control forces over the years and taken a sizable compliment of NWCG courses. By taking a look at the “Kamiak” profile, you will witness how this program is arranged and how reports are supplied to users.
If you would like to learn more about the NIMS Training Tracker and take a look at the Kamiak user profile, we invite you to contact us to receive a cost quote for access to a User Profile for your Jurisdiction.