The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established a standard incident management structure known as the National Incident Management System (NIMS). In reaction to Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5 issued by President Bush, the department has developed NIMS to improve coordination among all responders, comprising all levels of the government (federal and state level, local and tribal). NIMS is based on 14 principles to ensure the smooth running of an incident, except for preventing personnel from sharing information between themselves.

The main role that NIMS performs is NIMS is to deal with emergencies and restore all activities as swiftly as feasible to minimize the impact. The effectiveness of this comes from the point of communication between personnel.

The NIMS Management Characteristics of Chain of Command

NIMS Management characteristics work on 14 fundamentals to ensure that incident management runs smoothly. Each principle is essential to the effectiveness and efficiency that the system can achieve. They are:

  1. Common terms
  2. Modular organization
  3. Management based on goals
  4. The setting of specific and quantifiable objectives
  5. Knowing and planning to achieve the goals
  6. The creation and distribution of the responsibilities, procedures, plans, and regulations to finish the work
  7. Recording the results of the objective
  8. Incident action planning
  9. A manageable control span
  10. Incident Facilities and Location
  11. Comprehensive Resource Management
  12. Communications integrated
  13. Transfer of command and establishment
  14. Unified command
  15. Chain of Command and Unity of command
  16. Chain of Command- a straight line from subordinate to supervisor
  17. Unity of command – every employee reports to a supervisor only
  18. Accountability
  19. Dispatch/deployment
  20. Management of intelligence and information

Why should we restrict employees from sharing information exempted in NIMS?

Limiting information sharing between employees is not a component of the NIMS Management’s characteristic of an orderly hierarchy of commands. The reason for this is simple and clear it is because sharing information is vital for all members of NIMS management, particularly for decision-makers. NIMS’s primary objective is to deal with incidents and return to operations as swiftly as feasible to limit the negative effects to the lowest level. Each piece of information can help progress and achieve the incident’s goals and objectives. Personnel can spot any threats and risks and take action on any risks or dangers immediately. Additionally, staff members can identify the need for more resources and ensure they have them when needed.

It is important to share information among employees.

Sharing information is essential for any incident, regardless of whether the incident is small or massive. For instance, the personnel will need to inform the public about the area’s situation before further rescues can be brought in, or they need to tell other agencies about the equipment they require. There are more advantages and needs for sharing information as a part of the plan than we realize. Here are a few benefits of allowing employees to transfer data between themselves:

  • It encourages innovation and increases productivity. Allowing employees to share information lets them gain information about the current situation. This helps foster innovation, enables the team to be more efficient, and keeps the team informed of the latest strategies.
  • Feedback and collaboration. The advantages of sharing information make employees more inclined to collaborate and offer input to other organizations.
  • It encourages engagement. Information sharing increases staff members’ participation in the NIMS initiatives, increasing their dedication toward the mission. It allows them to share information across different agencies with ease. In addition, they will feel valued.
  • The creation of more expert experts. Accessing crucial information via information sharing will help identify experts that can demonstrate their expertise in a particular event.
  • It helps reduce costs and saves time. When employees share information, it minimizes the chance of mistakes and the amount of time spent on an incident.

There are risks in preventing personnel from sharing information.

Effectively conceived and delivered information will help to ensure the group’s safety and the effectiveness of their strategy. If the team members share information, it can further aid in the response process, encourages cooperation, and helps to strengthen the unity of the group. This means that restricting their ability to share crucial information can cause issues in the future. A lack of communication between them could hinder the plan’s effectiveness in managing incidents. In addition, conflicts and confusion could arise when ordering dreams and goals. This can also affect the efficiency of the procedure and the possibility that it will fail the purpose of NIMS.

Information flow is permitted among employees. The communication aspect of NIMS must adhere to four fundamental principles to ensure its integrity and its members. These are:

  • Interoperability- allows communication between agencies and organizations via various mediums, including video conference, email, and more.
  • Reliability, scalability, and transferability – every piece of information has to be trustworthy and classified according to the need of the incident.
  • Redundancy and resilience – every communication system must offer uninterrupted service and be replicated if one system fails.
  • Security – A secure communication system will stop classified information from being leaked.

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