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NIMS version: March 1, 2004
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Chapter IV
NIMS - Resource Management

A. Concepts and Principles

B. Managing Resources

Resource management involves coordinating and overseeing the application of tools, processes, and systems that provide incident managers with timely and appropriate resources during an incident. Resources include personnel, teams, facilities, equipment, and supplies. Generally, resource management coordination activities take place within EOCs. When they are established, multiagency coordination entities may also prioritize and coordinate resource allocation and distribution during incidents.

Resource management involves four primary tasks:

establishing systems for describing, inventorying, requesting, and tracking resources;

activating these systems prior to and during an incident;

dispatching resources prior to and during an incident; and

deactivating or recalling resources during or after incidents.

The basic concepts and principles that guide the resource management processes used in the NIMS allow these tasks to be conducted effectively. By standardizing the procedures, methodologies, and functions involved in these processes, the NIMS ensures that resources move quickly and efficiently to support incident managers and emergency responders.


1. Concepts.
The underlying concepts of resource management in this context are that:

It provides a uniform method of identifying, acquiring, allocating, and tracking resources.

It uses effective mutual-aid and donor assistance and is enabled by the standardized classification of kinds and types of resources required to support the incident management organization.

It uses a credentialing system tied to uniform training and certification standards to ensure that requested personnel resources are successfully integrated into ongoing incident operations.

Its coordination is the responsibility of EOCs and/or multiagency coordination entities, as well as specific elements of the ICS structure (e.g., the Resources Unit discussed in detail in Appendix A, Tab 3–B).

It should encompass resources contributed by private-sector and nongovernmental organizations.

2. Principles.
Five key principles underpin effective resource management:

a. Advance Planning.
Preparedness organizations (as defined in Section III.B.1) work together in advance of an incident to develop plans for managing and employing resources in a variety of possible emergency circumstances.

b. Resource Identification and Ordering.
Resource managers use standardized processes and methodologies to order, identify, mobilize, dispatch, and track the resources required to support incident management activities. Resource managers perform these tasks either at an IC’s request or in accordance with planning requirements.

c. Categorizing Resources.
Resources are categorized by size, capacity, capability, skill, and other characteristics. This makes the resource ordering and dispatch process within jurisdictions, across jurisdictions, and between governmental and nongovernmental entities more efficient and ensures that ICs receive resources appropriate to their needs. Facilitating the development and issuance of national standards for “typing” resources and “certifying” personnel will be the responsibility of the NIMS Integration Center described in Chapter VII.

d. Use of Agreements.
Preincident agreements among all parties providing or requesting resources are necessary to enable effective and efficient resource management during incident operations. Formal preincident agreements (e.g., mutual aid and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact [EMAC]) between parties, both
governmental and nongovernmental, that might provide or request resources are established to ensure the employment of standardized, interoperable equipment, and other incident resources during incident operations.

e. Effective Management of Resources.
Resource managers use validated practices to perform key resource management tasks systematically and efficiently. Examples include the following:

(1) Acquisition Procedures.
Used to obtain resources to support operational requirements. Preparedness organizations develop tools and related standardized processes to support acquisition activities. Examples include mission tasking, contracting, drawing from existing stocks, and making small purchases.

(2) Management Information Systems.
Used to collect, update, and process data; track resources; and display their readiness status. These tools enhance information flow and provide real- time data in a fast-paced environment where different jurisdictions and functional agencies managing different aspects of the incident life cycle must coordinate their efforts. Examples include geographical information systems (GISs), resource tracking systems, transportation tracking systems, inventory management systems, and reporting systems.

(3) Ordering, Mobilization, Dispatching, and Demobilization Protocols. Used to request resources, prioritize requests, activate and dispatch resources to incidents, and return resources to normal status. Preparedness organizations develop standard protocols for use within their jurisdictions. Examples include tracking systems that identify the location and status of mobilized or dispatched resources and procedures to “demobilize” resources and return them to their original locations and status.

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To implement these concepts and principles in performing the primary tasks of resource management, the NIMS includes standardized procedures, methodologies, and functions in its resource management processes. These processes reflect functional considerations, geographic factors, and validated practices within and across disciplines and are continually adjusted as new lessons are learned. The basic foundation for resource management provided in this chapter will be expanded and refined over time in a collaborative cross-jurisdictional, cross-disciplinary effort led by the NIMS Integration Center discussed in Chapter VII.

The NIMS uses eight processes for managing resources:

1. Identifying and Typing Resources.
Resource typing entails categorizing by capability the resources that incident managers commonly request, deploy, and employ. Measurable standards identifying the capabilities and performance levels of resources serve as the basis for categories. Resource users at all levels identify these standards and then type resources on a consensus basis, with a national-level entity taking the coordinating lead. Resource kinds may be divided into subcategories (types) to define more precisely the resource capabilities needed to meet specific requirements. Resource typing is a continuous process designed to be as simple as possible to facilitate frequent use and accuracy in obtaining needed resources. (See Appendix B for a more complete discussion of the NIMS national resource typing protocol.) To allow resources to be deployed and used on a national basis, the NIMS Integration Center defined in Chapter VII is responsible for defining national resource typing standards.

2. Certifying and Credentialing Personnel.
Personnel certification entails authoritatively attesting that individuals meet professional standards for the training, experience, and performance required for key incident management functions. Credentialing involves providing documentation that can authenticate and verify the certification and identity of designated incident managers and emergency responders. This system helps ensure that personnel representing various jurisdictional levels and functional disciplines possess a minimum common level of training, currency, experience, physical and medical fitness, and capability for the incident management or emergency responder position they are tasked to fill.

3. Inventorying Resources.
Resource managers use various resource inventory systems to assess the availability of assets provided by public, private, and volunteer organizations. Preparedness organizations enter all resources available for deployment into resource tracking systems maintained at local, State, regional, and national levels. The data are then made available to 911 centers, EOCs, and multiagency coordination entities.

A key aspect of the inventorying process is determining whether or not the primary- use organization needs to warehouse items prior to an incident. Resource managers make this decision by considering the urgency of the need, whether there are sufficient quantities of required items on hand, and/or whether they can be produced quickly enough to meet demand. Another important part of the process is managing inventories with shelf-life or special maintenance considerations. Resource managers must build sufficient funding into their budgets for periodic replenishments, preventive maintenance, and capital improvements.

4. Identifying Resource Requirements.
Resource managers identify, refine, and validate resource requirements throughout the incident life cycle. This process involves accurately identifying (1) what and how much is needed, (2) where and when it is needed, and (3) who will be receiving or using it. Resources to be identified in this way include supplies, equipment, facilities, and incident management personnel and/or emergency response teams. If a requestor is unable to describe an item by resource type or classification system, resource managers provide technical advice to enable the requirements to be defined and translated into a specification.

Because resource availability and requirements will constantly change as the incident evolves, all entities participating in an operation must coordinate closely in this process. Coordination begins at the earliest possible point in the incident life cycle.

5. Ordering and Acquiring Resources.
Requests for items that the IC cannot obtain locally are submitted through the local EOC or multiagency coordinating entity using standardized resource-ordering procedures. If the servicing EOC is unable to fill the order locally, the order is forwarded to the next level—generally an adjacent local, State, regional EOC, or multiagency coordination entity.

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6. Mobilizing Resources.
Incident personnel begin mobilizing when notified through established channels. At the time of notification, they are given the date, time, and place of departure; mode of transportation to the incident; estimated date and time of arrival; reporting location (address, contact name, and phone number); anticipated incident assignment; anticipated duration of deployment; resource order number; incident number; and applicable cost and funding codes. The resource tracking and mobilization processes are directly linked. When resources arrive on scene, they must formally check in. This starts the on-scene in-processing and validates the order requirements. Notification that the resource has arrived is sent back through the system.

For resource managers, the mobilization process may include equipping, training, and/or inoculating personnel; designating assembly points that have facilities suitable for logistical support; and obtaining transportation to deliver resources to the incident most quickly, in line with priorities and budgets.

EOCs and Incident Management Teams (IMTs) take direction from standard interagency mobilization guidelines at the national, regional, State, local, and tribal levels.

Managers should plan and prepare for the demobilization process well in advance, often at the same time they begin the resource mobilization process. Early planning for demobilization facilitates accountability and makes transportation of resources as efficient, costs as low, and delivery as fast as possible.

7. Tracking and Reporting Resources.
Resource tracking is a standardized, integrated process conducted throughout the life cycle of an incident by all agencies at all levels. This process provides incident managers with a clear picture of where resources are located, helps staff prepare to receive resources, protects the safety of personnel and security of supplies and equipment, and enables the coordination of movement of personnel, equipment, and supplies. Resource managers use established procedures to track resources continuously from mobilization through demobilization. Ideally, these managers would display this real-time information in a centralized database accessible to all NIMS partners, allowing total visibility of assets. Managers follow all required procedures for acquiring and managing resources, including reconciliation, accounting, auditing, and inventorying.

8. Recovering Resources.
Recovery involves the final disposition of all resources. During this process, resources are rehabilitated, replenished, disposed of, and retrograded:

a. Nonexpendable Resources.
These are fully accounted for at the incident site and again when they are returned to the unit that issued them. The issuing unit then restores the resources to fully functional capability and readies them for the next mobilization. Broken and/or lost items should be replaced through the Supply Unit, by the organization with invoicing responsibility for the incident, or as defined in preincident agreements. In the case of human resources, such as IMTs, adequate rest and recuperation time and facilities are provided. Mobilization guides developed at each jurisdictional level and within functional agencies provide appropriate rest and recuperation time guidelines. Important occupational health and mental health issues must also be addressed, including monitoring how such events affect emergency responders over time.

b. Expendable Resources.
These are also fully accounted for. Restocking occurs at the point from which a resource was issued. The incident management organization bears the costs of expendable resources, as authorized in preplanned financial agreements concluded by preparedness organizations. Returned resources that are not in restorable condition—whether expendable or nonexpendable—must be declared as excess according to established regulations and policies of the controlling entity. Waste management is of special note in the process of recovering resources. Resources that require special handling and disposition (e.g., biological waste and contaminated supplies, debris, and equipment) are dealt with according to established regulations and policies.

9. Reimbursement.
Reimbursement provides a mechanism to fund critical needs that arise from incident-specific activities. Reimbursement processes also play an important role in establishing and maintaining the readiness of resources. Processes and procedures must be in place to ensure that resource providers are reimbursed in a timely manner. These must include mechanisms for collecting bills, validating costs against the scope of the work, ensuring that proper authorities are involved, and accessing reimbursement programs, such as the Public Assistance Program and the Emergency Relief Program.



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