FEMA Getting Feedback on NIMS Update Ideas

The agency's National Integration Center is using FEMA's Collaboration Community website to let stakeholders express support or dislike of proposed changes.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Collaboration Community website, www.fema.ideascale.com, is currently being used to assess stakeholders' opinions of possible changes to National Incident Management System (NIMS) doctrine.

FEMA's National Integration Center (NIC) is taking feedback and engagement in this way. The site lets visitors express approval or dislike of individual ideas; some are in the negative zone but a few have positive margins of 30 or even 50 "votes." One idea currently in positive territory is this: "FEMA should assist with the implementation Risk Management framework by assisting communities to develop a community specific Risk Register to assess future risks to the community and mitigation activities that can lower the risk score. This would NOT be a FEMA product (so not meant to be tracked as a deliverable with metrics assigned, etc.,) but a communications technique that can start with listening to the community of what they see as future risks and where FEMA can help identify mitigation resources that can help (grants, CRS, future conditions modeling, etc.,). The community would own this risk register in that FEMA is only interested in helping them apply this to become more resilient. However, it would be a good way for FEMA to measure action as a result of the Risk MAP program. The key concept here is to apply the Risk Management approach as a communications process rather than a part of production task."

In a news release, FEMA said the input "will help shape public engagement topics moving forward and will be incorporated, as appropriate, into updated drafts of the NIMS."

Possible areas of change within the NIMS are grouped into these themes:

  • NIMS relationship to the National Preparedness System and its other components
  • Inclusion of "whole community" concepts in the NIMS
  • Expansion of the concept of national mutual aid
  • Comprehensive discussion of support, coordination, collaboration, and command and management with regard to tactical and non-tactical operations
  • Inclusion of language discussing the use of decision support tools and technology into the NIMS
  • Expansion of the use and interoperability of Emergency Communications

NIMS identifies concepts and principles that answer how to manage emergencies, from preparedness to recovery, regardless of their cause, size, or location. It provides a consistent, nationwide approach and vocabulary so multiple agencies or jurisdictions can work together to build, sustain, and deliver the core capabilities needed to achieve a secure and resilient nation.

For more information, contact FEMA's National Integration Center at FEMA-NIMS@fema.dhs.gov or 202-646-3850.

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