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Incident Command System

The University of Tennessee System has adopted the National Incident Management System (NIMS) standards, and has directed that each University is required to develop a comprehensive emergency management plan that meets federal and state requirements.

The purpose of the NIMS is to provide a common approach for managing incidents. The concepts contained herein provide for a flexible but standardized set of incident management practices with emphasis on common principles, a consistent approach to operational structures and supporting mechanisms, and an integrated approach to resource management.

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work together seamlessly and manage incidents involving all threats and hazards—regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity—in order to reduce loss of life, property and harm to the environment. The NIMS is the essential foundation to the National Preparedness System (NPS) and provides the template for the management of incidents and operations in support of all five National Planning Frameworks. Use the images below for direct links to all pages within the NIMS website.

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a component of NIMS, and is a management system designed to enable effective and efficient domestic incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. ICS is normally structured to facilitate activities in five major functional areas: command, operations, planning, logistics, Intelligence & Investigations, finance and administration. It is a fundamental form of management, with the purpose of enabling incident managers to identify the key concerns associated with the incident—often under urgent conditions—without sacrificing attention to any component of the command system.

ICS was developed in the 1970s following a series of catastrophic fires in California's urban interface. Property damage ran into the millions, and many people died or were injured. The personnel assigned to determine the causes of these outcomes studied the case histories and discovered that response problems could rarely be attributed to lack of resources or failure of tactics. Surprisingly, studies found that response problems were far more likely to result from inadequate management than from any other single reason. The Incident Command System:

  • Is a standardized management tool for meeting the demands of small or large emergency or nonemergency situations.
  • Represents "best practices" and has become the standard for emergency management across the country.
  • May be used for planned events, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism.
  • Is a key feature of the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

ICS principles to emergency management are reflected in the overall Campus Emergency Management Plan, and emergency response.

Last Published: Nov 27, 2017