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NIMS Components - Guidance and Tools

National Qualification System

Resource Typing


Mutual Aid

Incident Command System

Emergency Operations Centers

Communities across the nation experience a diverse set of threats, hazards, and events. The size, frequency, complexity and scope of these incidents vary, but all involve a range of personnel and organizations to coordinate efforts to save lives, stabilize the incident, and protect property and the environment.

Every day, jurisdictions and organizations work together to share resources, integrate tactics, and act collaboratively. Whether these organizations are nearby or are supporting each other from across the country, their success depends on a common, interoperable approach to sharing resources, coordinating and managing incidents, and communicating information.

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) defines this comprehensive approach.

National Qualification System

The National Qualification System (NQS) provides a foundational guideline on the typing of personnel resources within the NIMS framework, plus supporting tools.

Supplemental Guidance & Tools

Overarching NIMS guidelines for the National Qualification System, plus two supplemental guides for qualification review boards and coaches/evaluators.

View All Guides

NQS Job Titles and Position Qualifications

Minimum qualifications criteria for personnel serving in defined incident management and support positions. These documents can also be found on the Resource Typing Library Tool.

View All Criteria

NQS Position Task Books

Competencies, behaviors, and tasks that personnel should demonstrate to become qualified for a defined incident management and support position.

View All Position Task Books


OneResponder is web-based application for resource management, hosted in a cloud environment that is free and accessible to all members of the whole community.

Visit OneResponder.net

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Resource Typing

Resource typing is defining and categorizing, by capability, the resources requested, deployed and used in incidents. Resource typing definitions establish a common language and defines a resource’s (for equipment, teams, and units) minimum capabilities. NIMS resource typing definitions serve as the common language for the mobilization of resources. 

Resource Typing Library Tool

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Resource owners and providers should inventory and maintain current information on their shareable resources. Resource inventories should be adaptable and scalable. While a resource inventory can be as simple as a paper or electronic spreadsheet, many resource providers use information technology (IT) based inventory systems.

The Incident Resource Inventory System (IRIS) is a distributed software tool, provided at no-cost by FEMA. IRIS allows users to identify and inventory their resources for mutual aid operations and share information with other agencies.

Incident Resource Inventory System

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Mutual Aid

Mutual aid agreements already exist in various forms among and between all levels of government. These agreements authorize mutual aid between two or more neighboring communities, between all jurisdictions within a state and between states. Agreements can also be with and between private sector entities, NGOs and other whole-community partners. The emergency management community should consider resources and capabilities across the whole community, and develop written agreements that facilitate access to potentially needed resources.

NIMS Guideline for Mutual Aid

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Incident Command System Resources

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a management system designed to enable effective and efficient domestic incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. It enables incident managers to identify the key concerns associated with the incident—often under urgent conditions—without sacrificing attention to any component of the command system.

ICS is normally structured to facilitate activities in six major functional areas:

  • Command
  • Operations
  • Planning
  • Logistics
  • Intelligence and Investigations
  • Finance and Administration

Incident Command System Resources

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NIMS Intelligence & Investigations Function Guidance

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Emergency Operations Centers

Jurisdictions establish Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) to meet their unique requirements and needs, so no two EOCs are designed exactly the same. Within this section, FEMA has provided tools and resources for building or maintaining EOCs, in accordance with NIMS.

Emergency Operations Center Skillsets

Modified Position Task Book approaches to qualify EOC personnel while remaining flexible to accommodate diverse EOC organizational structures.

View All Skillsets

Emergency Operations Center Toolkit

Toolkit documents cover topics such as hazard vulnerability assessments, physical site selection, mitigation considerations, capabilities and requirements, information management systems, as well as training and exercises.

Download the EOC Toolkit

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EOC Quick Reference Guide

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Reference and Resources

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Download the Incident Action Planning Process

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Senior Leaders Toolkit

Includes quick reference guides and a NIMS senior leader briefing template to help emergency management and senior leaders understand their role and responsibility during incidents.

Download the Toolkit

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Last updated August 3, 2021