Emergency management and incident response activities require carefully managed resources (personnel, teams, facilities, equipment and/or supplies) to meet incident needs. Utilization of the standardized resource management concepts such as typing, inventorying, organizing and tracking will facilitate the dispatch, deployment and recovery of resources before, during and after an incident.
Resource management should be flexible and scalable in order to support any incident and be adaptable to changes. Efficient and effective deployment of resources requires that resource management concepts and principles be used in all phases of emergency management and incident response.
The resource management process can be separated into two parts: resource management as an element of preparedness and resource management during an incident. The preparedness activities (resource typing, credentialing and inventorying) are conducted on a continual basis to help ensure that resources are ready to be mobilized when called to an incident. Resource management during an incident is a finite process, as shown in the below figure, with a distinct beginning and ending specific to the needs of the particular incident.
The credentialing process entails the objective evaluation and documentation of an individual’s current certification, license or degree, training and experience and competence or proficiency to meet nationally accepted standards, provide particular services and/or functions or perform specific tasks under specific conditions during an incident.
For the purpose of NIMS, credentialing is the administrative process for validating personnel qualifications and providing authorization to perform specific functions and to have specific access to an incident involving mutual aid.
The National Integration Center (NIC) developed the NIMS Guideline for the Credentialing of Personnel, which describes national credentialing standards and provides written guidance regarding the use of those standards. The National Emergency Responder Credentialing System will document minimum professional qualifications, certifications, training and education requirements that define the standards required for specific emergency response positions.
The NIC is using working groups to identify job titles to be credentialed and the qualifications and training required. Working groups are focusing on the following: Incident Management, Emergency Medical Services, Fire/Hazardous Materials/Law Enforcement, Medical and Public Health, Public Works and Search and Rescue. Although subject-matter experts for these working groups have already been identified, the NIC welcomes your participation in our stakeholder review group. As a stakeholder, you will receive updates on working groups' progress and will be able to review draft documents under development.
If you would like to participate as a stakeholder, please contact the NIC at 202.646.3850 or by e-mail at: FEMA-NIMS@dhs.gov.
- Animal Emergency Response (AER)
- Emergency Medical Services (EMS) [3/08] (PDF 2911KB, TXT 72KB)
- Fire and Hazardous Materials [4/07] (PDF 258KB, TXT 56KB)
- Incident Management (IM) [10/06] (PDF 146KB, TXT 36KB)
- Law Enforcement (Coming Soon)
- Mass Care
- Medical and Public Health [3/08] (PDF)
- Public Works (PW)
- Search and Rescue (SAR) [11/06] (PDF 396KB, TXT 159KB)
Resource typing is categorizing, by capability, the resources requested, deployed and used in incidents. Measurable standards identifying resource capabilities and performance levels serve as the basis for categories. Resource users at all levels use these standards to identify and inventory resources. Resource kinds may be divided into subcategories to define more precisely the capabilities needed to meet specific requirements.
Tier 1 Resource Typing Definitions:
- Animal Health Emergency [5/05] (PDF 1.8MB, TXT 20KB)
- Emergency Medical Services (EMS) [3/09] (PDF 2.0MB, TXT 43KB)
- Fire and Hazardous Materials [7/05] (PDF 192KB, TXT 37KB)
- Aerial Apparatus, Fire (PDF)
- Incident Management (IM) [7/05] (PDF 2MB, TXT 56KB)
- Law Enforcement [7/07] (PDF 291KB, TXT 37KB)
- Law Enforcement Patrol Team (Strike Team) Interim Guidance [7/09] (PDF)
- Mass Care
- Medical and Public Health [3/08] (PDF)
- Search and Rescue (SAR) [11/05] (PDF 235KB, TXT 66KB)
- Public Works (PW) [5/05] (PDF 2.8MB, TXT 101KB)
- Damage Assessment, Repair and Start-Up Team - Water Production Facilities (PDF/TXT)
- Damage Assessment, Repair and Start-Up Team - Wastewater Treatment Facilities (PDF/TXT)
- Maintenance and Repair Team – Light Equipment Public Works (PDF/TXT)
- Damage Assessment, Repair and Start-Up Team – Wastewater Lift and Pump Station (PDF/TXT)
- Damage Assessment and Repair Team – Sewer Mains (PDF/TXT)
- Damage Assessment and Repair Team – Water Pump Facilities (PDF/TXT)
- Emergency Management Support Team – Water/Wastewater (PDF,TXT)
NIMS Appendix A: Resource Typing Examples [12/08] (PDF 179KB)
NIMS Incident Resource Inventory System (IRIS)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Preparedness Directorate (NPD) provides a “no cost” resource inventory tool. The Incident Resource Inventory System (IRIS) is developed and maintained by the Preparedness-Technology, Analysis and Coordination (P-TAC) Center and allows response officials to enter typed and non-typed resources into a database and to search/identify specific resources for incident operations and mutual aid purposes. The P-TAC Center works with IRIS users to identify and prioritize enhancements for future versions. Users are encouraged to submit feedback on IRIS to the IRIS Help Desk.
IRIS features the capability for users to inventory resources and share resource information with other agencies. Furthermore, users are able to define non-typed resources and select specific resources for mutual aid purposes based upon mission requirements, the capability and availability of resources and desired response times.
- Assists communities in inventorying, typing and visualizing resources in accordance with NIMS concepts/principles
- Provides quick access to resources to support emergency response operations
- Ensures that a “no cost” resource inventory tool is available to support response operations and NIMS resource typing compliance requirements
- Improves the nation’s capability to identify and acquire a typed resource
IRIS is available for download from www.ptaccenter.org. The latest versions are maintained at this site and users may also register with the P-TAC Center to receive updates. For assistance installing and using IRIS, contact the IRIS Help Desk at email@example.com. Users may also submit IRIS enhancement requests to the help desk.
Mutual aid agreements and assistance agreements are agreements between agencies, organizations and jurisdictions that provide a mechanism to quickly obtain emergency assistance in the form of personnel, equipment, materials and other associated services. The primary objective is to facilitate rapid, short-term deployment of emergency support prior to, during and after an incident.
Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC)
The Emergency Management Assistance Compact is an interstate mutual aid agreement that allows states to assist one another in responding to all kinds of natural and manmade disasters. It is administered by the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA).
Model Intrastate Mutual Aid Legislation
This Model Intrastate Mutual Aid Legislation was produced by NEMA in concert with DHS/FEMA and a cross-section of emergency response disciplines to facilitate intrastate mutual aid among participating political subdivisions in a state. The document also contains a list of states that have passed intrastate agreements with links to their legislation, as reference.
Model State-County Mutual Aid Deployment Contract
This is a model intergovernmental contract which allows for the deployment of local emergency responders under the auspices of EMAC. It was drafted by NEMA's Legal Counsel Committee.
Q: What is resource typing?
A: Resource typing is the categorization and description of response resources that are commonly exchanged in disasters through mutual aid agreements. The National Integration Center (NIC) has developed and published over 120 resource typing definitions. The NIC is continuing resource typing work and has established new working groups for the ongoing initiative. Resource typing definitions can give emergency responders the information they need to make sure they request and receive the appropriate resources during an emergency or disaster. Ordering resources that have been typed using these definitions makes the resource request and dispatch process more accurate and efficient. In FY 2006, state, territorial, tribal and local jurisdictions were required to inventory response assets that conform to NIMS resource typing standards.
Q: What is the purpose of resource typing?
A: Resource typing enhances emergency readiness and response at all levels of government through a system that allows an already overwhelmed jurisdiction to augment its response resources during an incident. Standard resource typing definitions help responders request and deploy the resources they need through the use of common terminology. They allow emergency management personnel to identify, locate, request, order and track outside resources quickly and effectively and facilitate the movement of these resources to the jurisdiction that needs them.
Q: Is resource typing part of NIMS?
A: Yes. Resource typing is an important part of resource management, which is one of the five components of the National Incident Management System. The only standard for resource typing is contained in Appendix B to the NIMS. However, the appendix does not provide the detailed guidance for someone to produce nationally consistent resource definitions. To better explain NIMS resource typing, the NIC published NIMS Guide 0001, National Resource Typing Criteria, dated March 27, 2008. The NIC is continuing to develop resource typing definitions, which are then offered for national comment. The role of the NIC is to establish interoperability of resources through consensus definition for teams and equipment and Knowledge, Skills and Abilities for individuals and team members.
Q: Has the National Integration Center developed a list of typed resources?
A: FEMA and the National Integration Center (NIC) recently released the National Mutual Aid Glossary of Terms and Definitions and the resource typing definitions for over 120 different kinds of resources. The resources were identified by groups of federal, state and local representatives as the most commonly requested and exchanged resources during significant disasters and emergencies. These products provide a foundation for facilitating the use of common terminology while enhancing mutual aid across the country.
Q: Are the resource typing groups still working on defining critical response assets?
A: Yes. Nine working groups have been formed by the National Integration Center (NIC) to develop and refine definitions for critical response assets. The working groups include Animal Health, Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, Fire & Hazmat, Public Health & Medical, Mass Care, Law Enforcement, Public Works and Search and Rescue. The initiative will expand to include additional discipline groups if the need arises. Resources are being revised on an as-needed basis as errors or updates are recognized by the NIC and stakeholders. Adjustments will be made to the current 120 typed definitions as capabilities and capacities improve and additional resources will be typed as they are identified by stakeholders.
Q: Who certifies that a resource meets the national standard and that personnel are credentialed to fill a role?
A: The state or local agency conducting the inventory uses the NIMS Tier I typed resources issued by the NIC and compares the definitions with the equipment/teams that exist in the jurisdiction. If a resource matches a definition on the list of the NIMS Tier I typed resources, then that resource must be included in the state or local inventory. Since there are currently no position-specific credentialing definitions, the jurisdiction must ensure that the training, etc., specified in the typing definition is met by all personnel attached to a team. In general, the typing lists training and education qualifications that are routinely required throughout the country.
Q: Who maintains the inventory, the state or the NIC or both?
A: Inventories are maintained by state and local governments. The NIC is not operational and does not intend to be a resource ordering point for the nation.
Q: We know that NIMS emphasizes resource management and resource typing. Does that mean we are supposed to do our own resource typing or what?
A: The only resource typing states should pursue is for those resources that fall into Tier II as detailed in NIMS Guide 0001. Communities and jurisdictions should begin to use the NIMS Tier I resource typing definitions to describe and inventory their resources. State and local jurisdictions may use DHS Homeland Security grant funds to create or update an inventory of their resources in accordance with the NIMS Tier I resource typing definitions.
Q: The NIMS document mentions a credentialing system tied to training and certification standards. Is there a national credentialing system in place that we need to follow?
A: The development of a nationwide credentialing system is a fundamental component of NIMS. However, this system is fundamental doctrine and business rules and is not a single information technology system. A national credentialing system can document minimum professional qualifications, certifications, training and education requirements that define baseline criteria expected of emergency response professionals and volunteers for deployment as mutual aid to disasters. While such a system is meant to verify the identity and qualifications of emergency responders, it does not provide automatic access to an incident site. The credentialing system can help prevent unauthorized (i.e., self-dispatched or unqualified personnel) access to an incident site. To support this credentialing initiative, the National Integration Center (NIC) uses working groups to identify positions that should be credentialed and the minimum qualification, certification, training and education requirements for each position. The groups represent the following disciplines:
- Incident Management
- Emergency Medical Services
- Fire Fighting and Hazardous Materials Response
- Law Enforcement
- Public Health/Medical
- Public Works
- Search & Rescue
- Animal Control/Veterinary
- Mass Care
In addition to these NIC discipline groups, the NIC is working with other organizations to assist their development of credentialing for their disciplines, such as the APCO/NENA Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT) and the Citizen Corps initiative for credentialing volunteers.Although the NIC has identified subject-matter experts for its working groups, the Center requests notification of all existing credentialing efforts, regardless of discipline. The NIC welcomes your participation into our stakeholder review group. As a stakeholder, you will receive updates concerning the working group process and be able to review and provide feedback on the draft products that are developed. If you are interested in participating as a stakeholder, please send an e-mail to: FEMA-NIMS@dhs.gov.
Q: NIMS promotes the use of state and local mutual aid to help local jurisdictions better handle large-scale disasters. Where can I find information on how to write a mutual aid agreement?
A: The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), in coordination with DHS/FEMA and a cross-section of emergency responders, has developed a tool to assist state and local governments in the preparation of model legislation designed to streamline the sharing of assistance and resources between communities during a disaster. The model is available for download at www.emacweb.org. Additionally, many states, such as North Carolina, have developed statewide mutual aid systems. We are also working with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) on developing better firefighting mutual aid systems with states to make filling EMAC requests faster (Intrastate Mutual Aid Systems), as well as developing a national firefighting coordination system (Emergency Management Committee). Information on these can be found on the IAFC Web site.
Q: How does the NIC view its role in the management of mutual aid resources? Is there potential for conflict between the NIC and EMAC?
A: The NIC does not manage resources - the NIC facilitates resource management by providing resource typing definitions for nationally important resources. All the work we have been engaged with is in support of EMAC and for the purpose of making EMAC more efficient.