The National Incident Management System (NIMS) refers to an incident management system that is universal in nature and which provides a national template or blueprint for cooperation among local, tribal, state, and federal governments and non-governmental agencies in the mitigation of, response to, and protection from natural disasters and incidents (Annelli, 2006; FEMA, n.d.). This comprehensive, nationwide approach to management of disasters is necessary to ensure that all agencies across jurisdictions work together during incidents disease outbreaks, hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes to minimize harm to the environment and destruction of life and property (FEMA, n.d.). However, effective, efficient, and fast response to emergencies requires an interoperable and compatible communication system in place.
An interoperable communication system is one that enables and facilitates communication within and across jurisdictions and agencies (FEMA, n.d.). Hence, the main reason NIMS desires to enhance interoperability as it relates to communications is to promote fast and efficient communication among various law enforcement agencies in different regions. Such communication also makes it possible for fast responders from various police agencies are well coordinated and directed so as to avoid the kind of confusion that was witnessed during Hurricane Katrina. Compatibility is also necessary as it ensures uniformity in the relay and flow of information during emergency incidents so as to facilitate better coordination of rescue efforts.
Moreover, the NIMS requires an interoperable and compatible communications system to enable emergency response and management teams or personnel to work together and interact. Interoperability ensures that there is effective sharing of information and data among all the stakeholders and relevant agencies involved in rescue missions. This way, interoperability of communication systems help save lives and property (FEMA, n.d.). Also, through such a communication system, a collaborative incident management is possible because such a system promotes portability, scalability, and reliability by creating a common and unified operating procedure among all the law enforcement agencies involved in emergency response activities and rescue efforts during a disaster. A radio communications network among police agencies, for instance, ensures that these agencies are able to communicate and share crucial information regarding emergency response operations among their personnel.
To surmise, the NIMS desires to have a compatible and interoperable communication network to facilitate fast and efficient flow and exchange of information among police agencies during emergency incidents. It also helps in better information management. Interoperability and compatibility of communication systems also enable law enforcement agencies to involve in rescue missions to work together, partner, collaborate and interact during a response to various incidents, jurisdictional differences notwithstanding.
Annelli, J.F. (2006). The National Incident Management System: A multi-agency approach toemergency response in the United States of America. Rev. Sci. Tech. Off. Int. Epiz., 25(1), 223-231
FEMA. (n.d.). Lesson 3: NIMS communications and information management. Retrieved April16, 2018, from https://emilms.fema.gov/IS700aNEW/NIMS0103summary.htm
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