NIMS is made up of Five Key Components:

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.

  • ICS:A standardized on-scene emergency management tool that combines facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications within a common organizational structure.
  • MACS:A common coordinating support system for incident prioritization, critical resource allocation, integration communication systems and information coordination.
  • PIS: These are designed to effectively manage public information at the incident, regardless of the size and complexity of the situation or the number of entities involved in the response.


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.   Local emergency management agencies have maintained emergency operations plans and preparedness programs in conjunction with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD).  For further information and assistance in local emergency preparedness contact your local emergency manager or SCEMD.

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.

Communications and Information Management

Effective, safe and efficient emergency response as well as preparedness, mitigation and recovery require effective communications and information management.   A long-standing challenge for many emergency services organizations has been the need for improved communications.  Hardware and equipment needed for improving communications is only one part of this challenge.  Another challenge has been to develop and apply procedures and policy that promote more effective and comprehensive communications between the various agencies and resources needed to respond to an emergency.  Emergency management and incident response activities rely on communications and information systems that provide a common operating picture to all command and coordination sites. NIM 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.

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/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.