NIMS Doctrine and Guidance

Communities across the nation experience a diverse set of threats, hazards, and events. The size, frequency, complexity, and scope of these incidents vary, but all involve a range of personnel and organizations to coordinate efforts to save lives, stabilize the incident, and protect property and the environment.

Every day, jurisdictions and organizations work together to share resources, integrate tactics, and act collaboratively. Whether these organizations are nearby or are supporting each other from across the country, their success depends on a common, interoperable approach to sharing resources, coordinating and managing incidents, and communicating information.

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) defines this comprehensive approach.

Download the National Incident Management System Doctrine.

National Incident Management System Doctrine

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) Doctrine defines a comprehensive approach to Incident Management through coordination between responders.


  • A comprehensive, nationwide, systematic approach to incident management, including the command and coordination of incidents, resource management, and information management
  • A set of concepts and principles for all threats, hazards, and events across all mission areas (Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, Recovery)
  • Scalable, flexible, and adaptable; used for all incidents, from day-to-day to large-scale
  • Standard resource management procedures that enagles coordination among different jurisdictions or organizations
  • Essential principles for communications and information management


  • Only the ICS
  • Only applicaple to certain emergency/incident response personnel 
  • A static system
  • A response plan
  • Used only during large-scale incidents
  • A resource ordering system
  • A communications plan