What are the four NIMS command and coordination systems? and What are its Functions- EOC

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NIMS is the National Incident Management System. It is used by emergency responders in all 50 states, at all levels of government, and in international incidents. The four primary command and coordination systems are: Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), Multi-Agency Coordination Group (MAG), Joint Information Center (JIC) and Public Information Office(PIO). 


These primary systems can be adapted to support incident-specific needs. NIMS serves as an organizational framework for integrating these four primary command and coordination systems into one unified system that ensures information flow between emergency response participants.



Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) are the principal locations to lead and coordinate response and recovery operations at the local, county/parish/tribal and state levels. 


EOCs are also used to support incident-specific coordination systems like those used in large chemical or biological incidents that require extensive coordination among federal, state, local and private sector participants. 


Here some points are discussed-


1. Multi-Agency Coordination Group (MAG)


A MAG is a type of incident management structure used most often in large or multiple jurisdictions. A MAG allows a unified command to exercise control in complex incidents, with the support of participating agencies. 


While a FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) may be the lead for an individual incident like the Hurricane Katrina disaster, FEMA has primary responsibility for coordinating all federal response activities. 


The multi-agency coordination group can assist in leading and managing the overall response effort, while supporting agencies provide specific resources or expertise as needed. The MAG includes representatives of all supporting agencies who participate directly or indirectly on the incident’s management team. 


2. Joint Information Center (JIC)


A JIC is a collaborative effort of all incident partners — federal, state, local and tribal governments, as well as private sector and nongovernmental organizations — who have a common interest in the outcome of an incident. It is a centralized location where representatives from multiple agencies work together to share information and facilitate coordination among the emergency response community. 


The JIC serves as the focal point for emergency managers at all levels in their efforts to manage information and support decision-making. The information is collected on behalf of the public, rather than for individual agency use or needs. 


3. Public Information Office (PIO)


The PIO is the official public contact point for emergency managers and other emergency response agencies. They serve to provide information to the media, communicate directly with the public and provide information to HHS, as well as offer assistance in coordinating and adapting to changes during an event. 


The PIO is also responsible for maintaining a website with updated information about required permits and licenses needed for those involved in an event or tragedy. The PIO maintains a list of all addresses of Federal buildings, so that people can find a place to stay if they have no other place of refuge; it also assists disaster victims with FEMA financial assistance applications. 


NIMS is an evolving method of providing a common framework to all levels of emergency management personnel. It is not a single set of rules but rather a living document that changes to reflect the changing needs of the various agencies, jurisdictions and organizations. 


4. Incident Command System (ICS)


All four of the command and coordination systems discussed above are considered part of the Incident Command System and present a single, unified command structure. The ICS is a command and control system that is flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of all situations. Agencies can easily add or subtract personnel from existing teams. 


Within any local jurisdiction, the incident commander develops plans for all activities that need to be conducted in coordination with other agencies in the effort to manage an incident effectively. The commander also develops plans to disseminate information needed to other responding parties in order to achieve common goals.


The Incident Command System divides duties into a set of nine functions and tasks. The functions are composed of four tasks that traditionally fall under the supervision of a single individual:


The Incident Commander, along with other key team members, must participate in preparing for, initiating and managing the incident. There can be no failure to consider or address all relationships, coordination needs, logistics and resources available for the successful achievement of goals.


No one person can always perform all tasks appropriately. These functions are divided between a number of staff members that work together as a multidisciplinary team to achieve common goals. 

The Incident Commander assigns individuals to each task as needed in order to assist with all aspects of incident management on any given day.


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