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Resource Management


Resource Management Overview

Emergency management and incident response activities require carefully managed resources (personnel, teams, facilities, equipment, and/or supplies) to meet incident needs. Utilization of the standardized resource management concepts such as typing, inventorying, organizing, and tracking will facilitate the dispatch, deployment, and recovery of resources before, during, and after an incident.

Resource management should be flexible and scalable in order to support any incident and be adaptable to changes. Efficient and effective deployment of resources requires that resource management concepts and principles be used in all phases of emergency management and incident response.

The resource management process can be separated into two parts: resource management as an element of preparedness and resource management during an incident. The preparedness activities (resource typing, credentialing, and inventorying) are conducted on a continual basis to help ensure that resources are ready to be mobilized when called to an incident. Resource management during an incident is a finite process, as shown in the below figure, with a distinct beginning and ending specific to the needs of the particular incident.

A  diagram that begins with an incident.  The first step is “identify requirements,” followed by “order and  acquire,” “mobilize,” “track and report,” “recover/demobilize” (with  "expendable" and "nonexpendable" beneath it), “reimburse,”  and the final step, “inventory.”   Connected to “inventory” is the note “preparedness activities for resource  management: resource typing and  credentialing.”

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The credentialing process entails the objective evaluation and documentation of an individual’s current certification, license, or degree; training and experience; and competence or proficiency to meet nationally accepted standards, provide particular services and/or functions, or perform specific tasks under specific conditions during an incident.

For the purpose of NIMS, credentialing is the administrative process for validating personnel qualifications and providing authorization to perform specific functions and to have specific access to an incident involving mutual aid.

Click on this link to review the recommended NIMS Personnel Credentialing Process.

The National Integration Center (NIC) is developing a national credentialing system that will help verify, quickly and accurately, the identity and qualifications of emergency personnel responding to an incident. The National Emergency Responder Credentialing System will document minimum professional qualifications, certifications, training, and education requirements that define the standards required for specific emergency response functional positions.

The NIC is using working groups to identify job titles to be credentialed and the qualifications and training required. Working groups are focusing on the following: Incident Management, Emergency Medical Services, Fire/Hazardous Materials/Law Enforcement, Medical and Public Health, Public Works, and Search and Rescue. Although subject-matter experts for these working groups have already been identified, the NIC welcomes your participation in our stakeholder review group. As a stakeholder, you will receive updates on working groups' progress and will be able to review draft documents under development.

If you would like to participate as a stakeholder, please contact the NIC at 202.646.3850 or by e-mail at:

Job Titles:

  • Animal Health Emergency [10/07] (PDF 198KB, TXT 57KB)
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) [7/07] (PDF 258KB, TXT 52KB)
  • Fire and Hazardous Materials [4/07] (PDF 258KB, TXT 56KB)
  • Incident Management (IM) [10/06] (PDF 146KB, TXT 36KB)
  • Law Enforcement (Coming Soon)
  • Mass Care (Coming Soon)
  • Medical and Public Health [3/08] (PDF 649KB, TXT 73KB)
  • Public Works (PW) [5/07] (PDF 82KB, TXT 32KB)
  • Search and Rescue (SAR) [11/06] (PDF 396KB, TXT 159KB)

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Resource Typing

Resource typing is categorizing, by capability, the resources requested, deployed, and used in incidents. Measurable standards identifying resource capabilities and performance levels serve as the basis for categories. Resource users at all levels use these standards to identify and inventory resources. Resource kinds may be divided into subcategories to define more precisely the capabilities needed to meet specific requirements.

Tier 1 Resource Typing Definitions:

  • Animal Health Emergency [5/05] (PDF 1.8MB, TXT 20KB)
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) [5/05] (PDF 1.0MB, TXT 56KB)
  • Fire and Hazardous Materials [7/05] (PDF 192KB, TXT 37KB)
  • Incident Management (IM) [7/05] (PDF 2MB, TXT 56KB)
  • Law Enforcement [7/07] (PDF 291KB, TXT 37KB)
  • Mass Care (Coming Soon)
  • Medical and Public Health [3/08] (PDF 462KB, TXT 29KB)
  • Pathfinder Task Forces [5/07] (PDF 31KB, TXT 6KB)
  • Public Works (PW) [5/05] (PDF 7.4MB, TXT 71KB)
  • Search and Rescue (SAR) [11/05] (PDF 235KB, TXT 66KB)

NIMS Appendix A: Resource Typing Examples [12/08] (PDF 513KB)
Glossary of Resource Terms and Definitions [7/05] (PDF 217KB, TXT 101KB)

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NIMS Incident Resource Inventory System (IRIS)

The National Integration Center (NIC) Incident Management Systems Integration (IMSI) Division is supporting the development of a database management tool for Federal, State, local, and tribal officials, which will be available to them at no cost. The software will allow emergency responders to enter typed resources and select specific resources for mutual aid purposes based upon mission requirements, capability of resources, and response time. The National Incident Management System - Incident Resource Inventory System (NIMS-IRIS) tool will be rolled out to the emergency response community in phases. Phase One will provide the basic database management tool to enter a community's 120 typed resources into a common database, which can be shared nationally and housed locally. Future system functionality will assist in placing and mobilizing resource requests, GPS tracking of resources, and resource recovery.

  • IRIS User Guide [1/08] (PDF 5618KB, TXT 92KB)
  • IRIS Program Version 2.1 (ZIP 76788KB)
  • IRIS Tutorial (ZIP 120121KB)
  • IRIS Patch Files (ZIP 22079KB)
  • IRIS Fact Sheet [9/07] (PDF 43KB, TXT 3KB)

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Mutual Aid Agreements and Assistance Agreements

Mutual aid agreements and assistance agreements are agreements between agencies, organizations, and jurisdictions that provide a mechanism to quickly obtain emergency assistance in the form of personnel, equipment, materials, and other associated services. The primary objective is to facilitate rapid, short-term deployment of emergency support prior to, during, and after an incident.


Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC)
The Emergency Management Assistance Compact is an interstate mutual aid agreement that allows States to assist one another in responding to all kinds of natural and manmade disasters. It is administered by the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA).

Model Intrastate Mutual Aid Legislation
This Model Intrastate Mutual Aid Legislation was produced by NEMA in concert with DHS/FEMA and a cross-section of emergency response disciplines to facilitate intrastate mutual aid among participating political subdivisions in a State. The document also contains a list of States that have passed intrastate agreements with links to their legislation, as reference.

Model State-County Mutual Aid Deployment Contract
This is a model intergovernmental contract which allows for the deployment of local emergency responders under the auspices of EMAC. It was drafted by NEMA's Legal Counsel Committee.

Cooperative Agreements

  • IMAS (Intrastate Mutual Aid System)
  • IAFC Emergency Management Committee

Model Mutual Aid Agreements

  • Water and Wastewater Utility Model Mutual Aid Agreement [12/06] (PDF 64KB, TXT 35KB)

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Resource Typing

Q: What is resource typing?

A: Resource typing is the categorization and description of response resources that are commonly exchanged in disasters through mutual aid agreements. The National Integration Center (NIC) Incident Management Systems Integration (IMSI) Division has developed and published over 120 resource typing definitions. The NIC is continuing resource typing work and has established new working groups for the ongoing initiative. Resource typing definitions can give emergency responders the information they need to make sure they request and receive the appropriate resources during an emergency or disaster. Ordering resources that have been typed using these definitions makes the resource request and dispatch process more accurate and efficient. In FY 2006, State, territorial, tribal, and local jurisdictions were required to inventory response assets that conform to NIMS resource typing standards.

Q: What is the purpose of resource typing?

A: Resource typing enhances emergency readiness and response at all levels of government through a system that allows an already overwhelmed jurisdiction to augment its response resources during an incident. Standard resource typing definitions help responders request and deploy the resources they need through the use of common terminology. They allow emergency management personnel to identify, locate, request, order, and track outside resources quickly and effectively and facilitate the movement of these resources to the jurisdiction that needs them.

Q: Is resource typing part of NIMS?

A: Yes. Resource typing is an important part of resource management, which is one of the five components of the National Incident Management System. The only standard for resource typing is contained in Appendix B to the NIMS. However, the appendix does not provide the detailed guidance for someone to produce nationally consistent resource definitions. To better explain NIMS resource typing, the NIC published NIMS Guide 0001, National Resource Typing Criteria, dated March 27, 2008. The NIC is continuing to develop resource typing definitions, which are then offered for national comment. The role of the NIC is to establish interoperability of resources through consensus definition for teams and equipment, and Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities for individuals and team members.

Q: Has the National Integration Center developed a list of typed resources?

A: FEMA and the National Integration Center (NIC) Incident Management Systems Integration (IMSI) Division recently released the National Mutual Aid Glossary of Terms and Definitions and the resource typing definitions for over 120 different kinds of resources. The resources were identified by groups of Federal, State, and local representatives as the most commonly requested and exchanged resources during significant disasters and emergencies. These products provide a foundation for facilitating the use of common terminology while enhancing mutual aid across the country.

Q: Are the resource typing groups still working on defining critical response assets?

A: Yes. Nine working groups have been formed by the National Integration Center (NIC) Incident Management Systems Integration (IMSI) Division to develop and refine definitions for critical response assets. The working groups include Animal Health, Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, Fire & Hazmat, Public Health & Medical, Mass Care, Law Enforcement, Public Works, and Search and Rescue. The initiative will expand to include additional discipline groups if the need arises. Resources are being revised on an as-needed basis as errors or updates are recognized by the NIC and stakeholders. Adjustments will be made to the current 120 typed definitions as capabilities and capacities improve and additional resources will be typed as they are identified by stakeholders. 

Q: I read with interest your statement that independently developed typing systems are not compliant with NIMS. What about DHS's Pre-Positioned Equipment Program, ODP's Authorized Equipment List (AEL), and the Standardized Equipment List (SEL), which use nomenclatures not common with resource typing.

A: The National Integration Center (NIC) Incident Management Systems Integration (IMSI) Division has been leading a national resource typing effort for several years to identify resources that are especially valuable for mutual aid in disasters. However, with the focus on NIMS compliance, many State and local governments are revisiting the resource typing definitions. In some cases, when it seems that the existing definitions don't fit their resources, they are initiating new resource typing efforts. This really defeats the purpose of common resource typing definitions that are essential in mutual aid operations in disasters. The current NIMS resource typing definitions were created to reflect the resources that are most commonly exchanged via mutual aid during a disaster, and are referred to as Tier I in accordance with NIMS Guide 0001. The NIMS typed resources are not resources for routine day-to-day emergency response operations. IMSI recognizes that States and jurisdictions may want to extend resource typing to more than the NIMS for their own purposes, and under NIMS Guide 0001 these are referred to as Tier II resources.  For example, resources that never leave a State do not belong in Tier I but can be added to the State inventory as Tier II.

The NIC is working with the National Preparedness Directorate and the Grants Management Directorate to review the efforts of the Target Capabilities Working Groups to determine which resources they want to add to the list of NIMS Tier I resources typed by the NIC. The NIC will continue to work with the DHS Office of Grants and Training to refine these definitions, create new definitions, and look at what changes may need to be made to other documents (such as the equipment lists). The NIC will meet with the Resource Typing Working Groups on a quarterly basis to review and address the suggestions and issues that are raised through this process.

Q: Who certifies that a resource meets the national standard and that personnel are credentialed to fill a role?

A: The State or local agency conducting the inventory uses the NIMS Tier I typed resources issued by the NIC and compares the definitions with the equipment/teams that exist in the jurisdiction. If a resource matches a definition on the list of the NIMS Tier I typed resources, then that resource must be included in the State or local inventory. Since there are currently no position-specific credentialing definitions, the jurisdiction must ensure that the training, etc., specified in the typing definition is met by all personnel attached to a team. In general, the typing lists training and education qualifications that are routinely required throughout the country.

Q: Who maintains the inventory, the State or the NIC or both?

A: Inventories are maintained by State and local governments. The NIC is not operational and does not intend to be a resource ordering point for the Nation.

Q: We know that NIMS emphasizes resource management and resource typing. Does that mean we are supposed to do our own resource typing, or what?

A: The only resource typing States should pursue is for those resources that fall into Tier II as detailed in NIMS Guide 0001. Communities and jurisdictions should begin to use the NIMS Tier I resource typing definitions to describe and inventory their resources. State and local jurisdictions may use DHS Homeland Security grant funds to create or update an inventory of their resources in accordance with the NIMS Tier I resource typing definitions.

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Resource Credentialing

Q: The NIMS document mentions a credentialing system tied to training and certification standards. Is there a national credentialing system in place that we need to follow?

A: The development of a nationwide credentialing system is a fundamental component of NIMS. However, this system is fundamental doctrine and business rules, and is not a single information technology system. A national credentialing system can document minimum professional qualifications, certifications, training, and education requirements that define baseline criteria expected of emergency response professionals and volunteers for deployment as mutual aid to disasters. While such a system is meant to verify the identity and qualifications of emergency responders, it does not provide automatic access to an incident site. The credentialing system can help prevent unauthorized (i.e., self-dispatched or unqualified personnel) access to an incident site. To support this credentialing initiative, the National Integration Center (NIC) uses working groups to identify positions that should be credentialed and the minimum qualification, certification, training, and education requirements for each position. The groups represent the following disciplines:

  • Incident Management
  • Emergency Medical Services 
  • Fire Fighting and Hazardous Materials Response 
  • Law Enforcement  
  • Public Health/Medical
  • Public Works 
  • Search & Rescue 
  • Animal Control/Veterinary
  • Mass Care

In addition to these NIC discipline groups, the NIC is working with other organizations to assist their development of credentialing for their disciplines, such as the APCO/NENA Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT) and the Citizen Corps initiative for credentialing volunteers.

Although the NIC Incident Management Systems Integration (IMSI) Division has identified subject-matter experts for its working groups, the Center requests notification of all existing credentialing efforts, regardless of discipline. The NIC welcomes your participation into our stakeholder review group. As a stakeholder, you will receive updates concerning the working group process and be able to review and provide feedback on the draft products that are developed. If you are interested in participating as a stakeholder, please send an e-mail to:

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Q: NIMS promotes the use of State and local mutual aid to help local jurisdictions better handle large-scale disasters. Where can I find information on how to write a mutual aid agreement?

A: The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), in coordination with DHS/FEMA and a cross-section of emergency responders, has developed a tool to assist State and local governments in the preparation of model legislation designed to streamline the sharing of assistance and resources between communities during a disaster. The model is available for download at Additionally, many States, such as North Carolina, have developed statewide mutual aid systems. We are also working with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) on developing better firefighting mutual aid systems with States to make filling EMAC requests faster (Intrastate Mutual Aid Systems), as well as developing a national firefighting coordination system (Emergency Management Committee). Information on these can be found on the IAFC Web site.

Q: How does the NIC view its role in the management of mutual aid resources?  Is there potential for conflict between the NIC and EMAC?

A: The NIC does not manage resources - the NIC facilitates resource management by providing resource typing definitions for nationally important resources. All the work we have been engaged with is in support of EMAC and for the purpose of making EMAC more efficient.

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NIMS Alerts


  • NIMS Alert 25-07: The Incident Management Systems Division Releases Updated Bomb Squad and SWAT/Tactical Team Resource Typing Definitions [8/07] (PDF 24KB, TXT 1KB)
  • NIMS Alert 21-07: New Animal Emergency Response Job Titles [7/07] (PDF 29KB, TXT 6KB)
  • NIMS Alert 08-07: Revised Bomb Squad Resource Typing Definitions [3/07] (PDF 27KB, TXT 5KB)
  • NIMS Alert 07-07: Revised SWAT/Tactical Team Resource Typing [3/07] (PDF 27KB, TXT 5KB)
  • NIMS Alert 04-07: National Incident Management System (NIMS) Integration Center Announces ICS Core Competencies [2/07] (PDF 40KB, TXT 7KB)


  • NIMS Alert 22-06: National Integration Center Announces the Water and Wastewater Utility Model Mutual Aid Agreement [12/06] (PDF 64KB, TXT 35KB)
  • NIMS Alert 19-06: National Integration Center Releases Criteria for Credentialing Public Works (PW) Personnel [11/06] (PDF 17KB, TXT 3KB)
  • NIMS Alert 18-06: Search and Rescue Positions [11/06] (PDF 19KB, TXT 4KB)
  • NIMS Alert 16-06: October 13, 2006, Fire and Hazmat Positions [10/06] (PDF 18KB, TXT 3KB)
  • NIMS Alert 15-06: October 4, 2006, Incident Management Positions [10/06] (PDF 14KB, TXT 2KB)
  • NIMS Alert 14-06: September 19, 2006, EMS Positions NIMS Alert [9/06] (PDF 21KB, TXT 3KB)
  • EMS Job Title Templates Final [9/06] (PDF 24KB, TXT 85KB)
  • NIMS Incident Resource Inventory System (IRIS) Fact Sheet [5/07] (PDF 38KB, TXT 7KB)
  • NIMS Alert 03-06: FEMA and IAFC Launch Interagency Mutual Aid Project [3/06] (PDF 23KB, TXT 7KB)

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Additional Resources

  • NG 0001: National NIMS Resource Typing Criteria [3/07] (PDF 88KB, TXT 11KB)
  • NG 0002: National Credentialing Definition and Criteria [3/07] (PDF 359KB, TXT 9KB)

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