Training, Drilling, and Exercising Toolkit

1.2 NIMS/ICS Training

What is NIMS?

The National Incident Management System (NIMS), a program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is a comprehensive approach to incident management that can apply to emergencies of all types and sizes. The NIMS approach is intended to be both:

  • Flexible, to work in all incidents
  • Standardized, to provide a coordinated, efficient response to each incident

What is ICS?

The NIMS model for incident management is the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS is a standardized on-scene emergency management organization designed to aid in the management of resources during incidents. The ICS model is used by jurisdictions and agencies, both public and private, to organize field-level incident-management operations. ICS is sometimes referred to as the Incident Management System (IMS); the terms are interchangeable.

When organizations use the ICS model as the basis for their disaster planning, they adopt predefined management hierarchy, processes, and protocols that come into play in an emergency:

  • The elements of the ICS model were developed and refined from actual incidents.
  • This common approach enables organizations using ICS to integrate their response with other organizations that are also using ICS. Most if not all first responders utilize this response.

Training in NIMS and ICS

In order to fulfill NIMS/ICS requirements mandated for use by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5: Management of Domestic Incidents in 2003 for federal, state, and local governmental entities, schools/districts should determine what personnel need to receive Incident Command System (ICS) and National Incident Management System (NIMS) training based on their role(s) in the overall school emergency management program.

In accordance with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) guidance, certain “key personnel” are required to complete the following six courses:

  1. IS-100.C, Introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS) for Schools
    Introduces the ICS and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. This course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
  2. IS-700.a, National Incident Management System (NIMS)-An Introduction
    Introduces and overviews the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents.
  3. IS-200.b, ICS for Single Resources/Initial Action Incidents
    Designed to enable personnel to operate efficiently during an incident or event within the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS-200 provides training on and resources for personnel who are likely to assume a supervisory position within the ICS.
  4. IS-800.b, National Response Framework, An Introduction
    Introduces participants to the concepts and principles of the National Response Framework (NRF).
  5. *ICS-300, Intermediate Incident Command System for Expanding Incidents
    Provides training for personnel who require advanced application of the Incident Command System (ICS). This course expands upon information covered in the ICS-100 and ICS-200 courses.
  6. *ICS-400, Advanced Incident Command System for Command and General Staff - Complex Incidents
    Provides training for personnel who require advanced application of the Incident Command System (ICS). This course expands upon information covered in ICS-100 through ICS-300 courses, which are prerequisites for the ICS-400 course.

IS indicates a course is available online for independent study
*ICS-300 and ICS-400 are not available online and must be taken in a classroom setting through state or local emergency management training programs.

Additional information about FEMA course registration and availability can be located on the site below:

The following chart may be used by schools/districts to help determine what “key personnel” need to receive incident command system (ICS) and NIMS training:

nims ics training chart