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Importance of NIMS to Campus Emergency Response

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 78 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2009 Pages: 14-19
Mark Fazzini M.S.
Date Published
September 2009
6 pages
This article discusses the benefits and implementation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) for colleges and universities.
The NIMS was developed in March 2004 by the Department of Homeland Security in order to provide a systematic, proactive approach for governmental and private agencies to prevent, protect against, respond to, mitigate, and recover from critical incidents. NIMS allocates responsibilities among four main areas: planning, operations, logistics and administration, and finance. The NIMS provides uniformity that assists emergency responders from diverse communities in cooperating effectively and efficiently in responding to the same critical incident. NIMS-compliant agencies share a common understanding and terminology of strategies, tactics, and command structure for responding to critical incidents. NIMS also uses standard forms in documenting various aspects of a response. Documentation of a critical incident includes the resources deployed, safety precautions taken, media messages written, and equipment ordered, as well as the justification for requesting reimbursement of expenses from the Federal Government. Also, if needed, the documentation assists in the defense of any lawsuits that may arise from a response effort. A recent report funded through the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority examined the relationship between local law enforcement and postsecondary institutions in Illinois and across the Nation. One of its key findings was that many campuses have experienced critical incidents within the past 5 years. This fact, along with the importance of NIMS for the effective and efficient planning for or response to an emergency incident, indicates that every college and university should adopt and comply with the NIMS. In providing directions on how a college or university can comply with the NIMS, this article addresses acceptance of the system, training all personnel, the development of a plan, testing the plan, and monitoring the process.