NIMS structures make decisions for cooperative multi-agency organizations. The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is the United States’ national standard for incident management capabilities. 

It provides a common set of terminology, principles, and concepts to enable effective coordination of emergency response activities among federal, state, tribal governments and local government agencies involved in disaster response efforts.

The Situation Unit describes the environment relating to an incident. This unit provides an organizational structure that supports the planning process required by ICS. The Situation Unit is a command and control element that is responsible for completing the initial situational analysis. The Situation Unit performs a continuous, “as needed”, description of the conditions and effects related to an incident. This information will be used to develop plans.

Which nims structure makes cooperative multi agency decisions :

1. The Situation Unit – 

The Situation Unit (SU) is the primary decision making body that provides situational awareness and intelligence analysis for the emergency operations center, ICS organization and incident action plan. The SU will provide information to support effective decision making. 

The SU integrates intelligence and information from multiple sources, in-scope agencies’ plans, predictive modeling and other sources to develop a common situational picture for the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Incident Command Post (ICP). The SU is responsible for developing a comprehensive understanding of factors impacting the incident.The SU will have the ability to communicate to appropriate stakeholders. 

For example, if the SU identifies that a critical resource is not in place or that multiple agencies are attempting to provide assistance for stabilization activities then it will alert the media and other affected organizations.

2. Situation Support Unit – 

The Situation Support (SU) unit is responsible for supporting ICS organization actions and actions of its assigned operational teams, as directed by incident commander decision making. The SU is the central information hub within the incident response system and provides support to all units through dissemination of common situational awareness data such as time, location, safety factors and risk assessment data. 

The SU is configured as an integrated suite of software applications that provide the most relevant information and intelligence about an incident to decision makers. The SU will provide interoperability with existing applications such as 911 call, CAD and other information systems. 

The SU provides the Incident Commander with a decision support capability that allows him/her to interactively access real-time incidents data from multiple sources, including in-scope agencies’ plans and predictive modeling data through the use of various situational awareness visualizations.

3. Integrated Planning Team – 

The Integrated Planning Team (IPT) is responsible for coordinating multi-agency information exchanges and providing key intelligence that enables effective interagency operations during the incident response. The IPT is composed of representatives from in-scope agencies with responsibility for planning and coordinating incident activities such as operations, logistics and resource management.

 The IPT will examine the impact of decisions on all impacted jurisdictions to ensure that adopted plans do not create or exacerbate a hazard or risk to people or property within in-scope jurisdictions. The IPT will be responsible for integrating planning activities across participating agencies while providing clear and concise instructions necessary to complete those plans within established response timeframes..

4. Unified Command – 

The Unified Command is responsible for developing the Incident Action Plan (IAP). The IAP describes coordinated response actions to be taken by incident management teams as well as participating in-scope agencies during an incident. 

The IAP is a collaborative process that involves the lead or senior representative of each participating agency. The Unified Command is composed of one or more ICS organizations, each assigned responsibilities for managing specific operation objectives or “command functions.” Command functions may include command, operations, planning, logistics, finance/administration and public information.

5. Incident Action Plan – 

The IAP describes coordinated incident response actions to be taken by all participating agencies during an incident. After the initial coordination of efforts is complete, an IAP will be formulated by the unified command and approved by the appropriate authorizing official(s). 

The Incident Action Plan will contain specific details of the tactical objectives, implementation methods and resources needed. An IAP is a collaborative process that involves the lead or senior representative of each participating agency. The IAP is developed by the unified command and approved by the appropriate authorizing official(s).

6. Incident Command System – 

The Incident Command system (ICS) is a management system that uses a standardized command structure to organize personnel, facilities, equipment, communications and procedures into an effective team to manage incidents requiring multi-agency response. The purpose of the ICS is to provide a consistent organizational structure for incident management that can be implemented immediately in any area impacted by an incident or event requiring multi-agency coordination. 


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