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Lesson 1: Fundamentals and Concepts
We’ll now begin with the content of the first lesson.
This lesson presents key concepts and principles
underlying NIMS.

Objectives: At the end of this lesson, you should
be able to:

• Describe applicability and scope of NIMS.

• Describe the key concepts and principles
underlying NIMS.


NIMS Overview
WHAT? The National Incident Management
System (NIMS) defines the comprehensive
approach guiding…

WHO? …the whole community – solutions that
serve the entire community are implemented
while simultaneously making sure that the
resources the different members of the
community bring to the table are leveraged
across all levels of government,
nongovernmental organizations (NGO), and
private sector organizations to work together

WHY? …to prevent, protect against, mitigate,
respond to, and recover from the effects of

WHEN? NIMS applies to all incidents,
regardless of cause, size, location, or
complexity, from planned events to traffic
accidents and to major disasters.


NIMS Applicability and Scope
NIMS is a common framework for emergency management
and incident response that is applicable to all stakeholders
with incident related responsibilities.

The audience for NIMS includes:

• Emergency responders

• Other incident personnel

• Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as
faith-based and community-based groups

• The private sector

• Elected and appointed officials

• People with disabilities or access and functional needs

The scope of NIMS includes:

• All incidents, regardless of size, complexity, or scope

• Planned events such as sporting events


Overview of NIMS
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) defines the
comprehensive approach guiding the whole community – all levels
of government, nongovernmental organizations (NGO), and the
private sector – to work together seamlessly to prevent, protect
against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the effects of


• A comprehensive, nationwide, systematic approach to
incident management, including the command and
coordination of incidents, resource management, and
information management

• Only the Incident Command System

• Only applicable to certain emergency/incident response

• A static system

• A set of concepts and principles for all threats, hazards,
and events across all mission areas (Prevention,
Protection, Mitigation, Response, Recovery)

• A response plan

• Scalable, flexible, and adaptable; used for all incidents,
from day-to-day to large-scale

• Used only during large-scale incidents

• Standard resource management procedures that enable
coordination among different jurisdictions or organizations

• A resource ordering system

• Essential principles for communications and information

• A communications plan


NIMS Guiding Principles
Incident management is the application of
resources by organizations to plan for,
respond to, and recover from an incident.

Priorities for incident management in
planning, response, and recovery efforts
include saving lives, stabilizing the incident,
and protecting property and the

To achieve these priorities, incident
management personnel use NIMS
components in accordance with three NIMS
guiding principles:

• Flexibility

• Standardization

• Unity of Effort


The NIMS guiding principle of
flexibility allows NIMS to be
scalable from routine, local
incidents through those requiring
interstate mutual aid up to those
requiring Federal assistance.

Flexibility enables NIMS to be
applicable to incidents that
vary widely in terms of hazard,
geography, demographics, climate,
cultural, and organizational

NIMS components are adaptable
to any type of event or incident.


The NIMS guiding principle of
standardization supports
interoperability among multiple
organizations in incident response.

NIMS defines standard
organizational structures that
improve integration and connectivity
among organizations.

NIMS defines standard practices that
allow incident personnel and
organizations to work together

NIMS includes common terminology,
which enables effective


Unity of Effort
The NIMS guiding principle of
Unity of Effort means
coordinating activities among
various organizational
representatives to achieve
common objectives. Unity of
effort enables organizations
with jurisdictional authority or
functional responsibilities to
support each other while
allowing each participating
agency to maintain its own
authority and accountability.


NIMS Framework – Major
Jurisdictions and organizations involved in
the management of incidents vary in their
authorities, management structures,
communication capabilities and protocols,
and many other factors. The major
Components of NIMS provide a common
framework to integrate these diverse
capabilities and achieve common goals.

• Resource Management

• Command and Coordination

• Communications and Information

The application of all three components is
vital to successful NIMS implementation.


Lesson 1: Fundamentals and Concepts
of NIMS Summary
This lesson presented an overview of the Fundamentals and
Concepts of NIMS.

The lesson specifically discussed:

• An Introduction and Background to NIMS

• NIMS Applicability and Scope

• NIMS Guiding Principles

• An Overview of the NIMS components

The next lesson will introduce you to NIMS Resource


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