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“What are NIMS and ICS? How do they apply to me?”

These are questions I am quite often asked here at the UW. Chances are- if you have been directed to this page, you are asking the same questions. I have created this page to explain these concepts and why they apply to us. At first glance these concepts can seem ominous, but they are not intended to be. Let’s start by breaking down each concept to its simplest form-


What are NIMS and ICS?

NIMS: The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a structured framework used nationwide for both governmental and non-governmental agencies to respond to natural disasters and or terrorist attacks at the local, state, and federal levels of government.Click here to learn more about the National Incident Management System

ICS: The Incident Command System (ICS) is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach that:

  • Allows for the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure.
  • Enables a coordinated response among various jurisdictions and functional agencies, both public and private.

Simply put, NIMS is an overall management framework for responding to emergencies, while ICS is the management system established to manage emergency and other incidents.


How do NIMS and ICS apply to me?

In 2009, the US Department of Education mandated NIMS adoption by all Institutions of Higher Education. To do this, the Department of Education (ED) has established a set of guidelines for establishing NIMS, called the “NIMS Implementation Activities for Schools and Institutions of Higher Education”. Those guidelines can be found by clicking here.


The Department of Education has identified “key personnel” who are required to complete NIMS/ICS training. To determine if you fall somewhere in the list of “key personnel” please refer to the list of “key personnel” found in Activities #8-13 found by clicking here.


I think I need NIMS and ICS training. How do I complete this?

Most NIMS and ICS training courses can be completed on-line from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The link just above will help you determine what level of training you must obtain. While all of these courses are available on-line, some people would rather attend formal training in a classroom environment. I am available to assist you if you would like to host or attend formal NIMS/ICS training. If you would rather complete this training on your own, please click here.

FEMA now also has an ICS100 course geared directly toward Higher Education Institutions. If you would like to access that course, please click here.


If you have questions, concerns, or would like me to provide you or your staff a class on one of these subjects, please contact me.


Troy Lane

Chief of Police

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