The Importance of NIMS to Campus Emergency Response
The main articles point is centered toward introducing National Incident Management System (NIMS) in institutions of higher learning such as colleges and universities. This has followed a realization that shocking incidents in the esteemed places of higher learning have been on the rise. This, therefore, created the need to upgrade the emergency response capabilities. These institutions just like other government organizations can benefit much from the pro-active emergency approach that was developed by the Department of Homeland Security in 2014 (Fazzini, 2009).
The article is addressed to the relevant stakeholders involved with emergency response details of the colleges and universities. In a specific way, it targets the management of this institution to realizing that there is a need to work together with other relevant bodies and authorities to put in place relevant countermeasures in place aimed at reducing the risk of threat to safety with the campus. It also targets response authority such as a Department of Homeland Security and the local response teams (Fazzini, 2009).
The article presents evidence to support the main agenda. In one study, as the article highlights, it was observed that there were critical cases experienced in the majority of the campuses in a timeframe of the past five years. This is therefore based on enough evidence as to why the colleges and universities need to be compliant to NIMS which provides an effective and efficient planning mechanism for dealing with such emergency situations (Fazzini, 2009). The introduction of the NIMS system is cost effective as the federal government refunds that institutions amount spent for responding to and recovering from an emergency situation. The NIMS is designed in a flexible manner and can, therefore, be altered and be effective in handling both small operations and the complex situation as the need may arise.
To show its effectiveness when applied to the colleges and universities’ context, the writer breakdown how the NIMS system operates. Responsibilities are divided into four major areas of planning, operations, logistics, administration, and finance. In each of these categories, there are apportioned primary and secondary functions that can be split further into branched, divisions team, or task force (Fazzini, 2009). The system follows easy-to-understand command structure with established uniform titles defining accompanying. The emergence responders from different groups can, therefore, work effectively and efficiently in one operation with no problem of understanding the responsibilities of the section chief. The standardization of the system is done through the use of common terminologies for all compliant agencies. The importance of this is that it prevents confusion and saves on the much needed time. The documentation also is done in a format that is common for all departments.
To support the main point, the article expounds on the steps that a college or university needs to adhere to during the process of becoming compliant. This is done through a continuum for compliance that includes five steps. The compliance process ought to be initiated by the governing board of the college of the university by adopting NIMS for all departments by fixing NIMS compliance in the school policies and procedure (Fazzini, 2009). The next step involves training of all personnel through incident command systems cases. The standard number of classes that the campus personnel needs to undertake is six. The institution may engage some of its staff in trainer-of trainer’s course and use them for in-house training.
The campus is then required to come up with a plan for all-hazard emergency operations plan that are in line with the NIMS system. The plan is formulated through committee with members including all the constituents such as police and fire personnel (Fazzini, 2009). The plan needs to be availed to all campus administrators, local police, fire departments and the local emergency incident. The plan needs to undergo some testing within the institution with the help of community partners such as the local police and fire department. There are different methods of conducting the test which is achieved in a session of few hour going all the way to a full day. A functional exercise is recommended to address certain components of the emergency plan. The effectiveness of the whole plan may be determined through a full-scale exercise (Fazzini, 2009).
The author of this article elaborates his point on the inclusion of NIMS system in campus emergency plan through an analysis of a case study of the College of DuPage. This institution collaborated with three neighborhood communities to form a Tri-City Crisis Response Group (Fazzini, 2009). The group’s mandate has expanded from the original role of providing a medical site in case of a terror attack to incorporate responses to incidents that may be beyond the resources of a given member community. The emergency operation center was located on the campus and has telephone lives, the internet, and cable TV. The group engages in combined training and drill to enhance their preparedness.
On this issue, I add my opinion by stating that unprecedented events may happen anywhere including in the institutions of higher learning. The colleges and universities ought to be equipped to handle the emergency operations in such a scenario. While maintaining localized emergency system is important, NIMS system broadens the scope in the management of not only smaller operation but also bigger events. Having a common understanding with the local emergency teams in an effective way of ensuring the success of emergency operations with no confusion arising. In so doing, our universities and colleges will be safe.
Fazzini, M. (2009). The importance of NIMS to campus emergency response. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 78(9), 14-19.
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