The National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS) are two methods by which the US government responds to emergencies and disasters. NIMS employs ICS when disaster strikes.

NIMS History

The NIMS is the organization through which disaster management is coordinated. It was designed after the World Trade Center attacks in September, 2001 and implemented starting in 2005. NIMS is designed to prepare for, prevent, and manage response to emergency and disaster situations, and to coordinate emergency response disaster responders on the local, state and federal levels.

ICS History

The ICS is a personnel management structure through which disaster response is controlled. ICS was developed by the State of California as a method by which earthquakes and other emergencies could be handled efficiently. Flexibility is a main tenet of ICS. When properly implemented, the system allows the development of a command chain of any size that can include government agencies and non-governmental organizations alike.


NIMS offers training to disaster response personnel in using the ICS. ICS provides a standardized framework through which various agencies can coordinate command in a disaster situation. In the event of a disaster, NIMS interacts with agencies responding to the disaster as part of the ICS chain of command.