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NIMS provides guidance to plan and respond to incidents at sport facilities

This is an excerpt from Security Management for Sports and Special Events by Stacey Hall, Walter Cooper, Lou Marciani, Jim McGee.

NIMS provides guidance to plan and respond to incidents at sport facilities

The National Incident Management System (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. NIMS works hand in hand with the National Response Framework (NRF). NIMS provides the template for the management of incidents, whereas the NRF provides the structure and mechanisms for national-level policy for incident management.

The NIMS provides the nation’s first responders and agencies with the same foundation for a variety of domestic incident management activities regardless of cause, size, or complexity. Incidents may include terrorist attacks, natural disasters, or other emergencies. Five major components make up this systems approach (see figure 3.1 on page 46).

The components of NIMS are adaptable to any situation, from routine, local incidents to incidents requiring the activation of interstate mutual aid to those requiring a coordinated Federal response, whether planned (e.g., major sporting or community events), notice (e.g., hurricane) or no-notice (e.g., earthquake). (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2008b, p. 6)

NIMS is a complex system and a work in progress for law enforcement, emergency management, and other responding government agencies. In case of a major incident at a sport or other event, these agencies will likely take control of the incident. Even so, sport and event facility managers should be familiar with the overall components of NIMS. The command group (CG) specific to a sport event or venue (described in chapter 2) must understand the systems approach so that they can plan, respond, and communicate during an incident. The following excerpt from the NIMS 2008 guideline (p. 7) provides a synopsis of each major component. A detailed review of each component is provided in the NIMS guideline and can be accessed at

Preparedness: Effective emergency management and incident response activities begin with a host of preparedness activities conducted on an ongoing basis, in advance of any potential incident. Preparedness involves an integrated combination of assessment; planning; procedures and protocols; training and exercises; personnel qualifications, licensure, and certification; equipment certification; and evaluation and revision.

Communications and Information Management: Emergency management and incident response activities rely on communications and information systems that provide a common operating picture to all command and coordination sites. NIMS describes the requirements necessary for a standardized framework for communications and emphasizes the need for a common operating picture. This component is based on the concepts of interoperability, reliability, scalability, and portability, as well as the resiliency and redundancy of communications and information systems.

Resource Management: Resources (such as personnel, equipment, or supplies) are needed to support critical incident objectives. The flow of resources must be fluid and adaptable to the requirements of the incident. NIMS defines standardized mechanisms and establishes the resource management process to identify requirements, order and acquire, mobilize, track and report, recover and demobilize, reimburse, and inventory resources.

Command and Management: The Command and Management component of NIMS is designed to enable effective and efficient incident management and coordination by providing a flexible, standardized incident management structure. The structure is based on three key organizational constructs: the Incident Command System, Multiagency Coordination Systems, and Public Information.

Ongoing Management and Maintenance: Within the auspices of Ongoing Management and Maintenance, there are two components: the NIC and Supporting Technologies.

(1) National Integration Center: Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 required the secretary of homeland security to establish a mechanism for ensuring the ongoing management and maintenance of NIMS, including regular consultation with other federal departments and agencies; state, tribal, and local stakeholders; and NGOs and the private sector. The NIC provides strategic direction, oversight, and coordination of NIMS and supports both routine maintenance and the continuous refinement of NIMS and its components. The NIC oversees the program and coordinates with federal, state, tribal, and local partners in the development of compliance criteria and implementation activities. It provides guidance and support to jurisdictions and emergency management and response personnel and their affiliated organizations as they adopt or, consistent with their status, are encouraged to adopt the system. The NIC also oversees and coordinates the publication of NIMS and its related products. This oversight includes the review and certification of training courses and exercise information.

(2) Supporting Technologies: As NIMS and its related emergency management and incident response systems evolve, emergency management/response personnel will increasingly rely on technology and systems to implement and continuously refine NIMS. The NIC, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, oversees and coordinates the ongoing development of incident management-related technology, including strategic research and development.

For an example of the way in which NIMS systems and training made a difference in a crisis situation, see appendix 3.1, a case study of efforts to shelter displaced people in Houston, Texas, following Hurricane Katrina.

Read more from Security Management for Sports and Special Events by Stacey Hall, Walter Cooper, Lou Marciani, Jim McGee.

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