Introduction to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS)

I.     Course Prefix/Number: FIR 180

       Course Name: Introduction to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS)

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces and overviews the National Incident Management System (IS 700a)  and the Incident Command System (IS 100b). NIMS content describes the key concepts and principles of NIMS, and how NIMS provides a consistent nation-wide template to enable all government, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations, to work together during domestic incidents. ICS content describes the history, features and   principles, and organizational structure of ICS. The course will explain the relationship between NIMS and ICS. Students cannot earn credit for both FIR 180 and LAE 180.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the intent of NIMS
  2. Explain the key concepts and principles underlying NIMS
  3. Describe and discuss the purpose of the NIMS Components including:
    • Preparedness
    • Communications and Information Management
    • Resource Management
    • Command and Management
  4. Describe and discuss the purpose of the National Integration Center
  5. Explain and discuss the following functional areas:
    • ICS applications
    • ICS organizational principles and elements
    • ICS positions and responsibilities
    • ICS facilities and functions
    • ICS planning
  6. Describe and explain the steps emergency responders must take for accountability for actions during an incident.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Incidents that may require a collaborative approach that includes personnel from:
    1. Multiple jurisdictions
    2. A combination of specialties or disciplines
    3. Several levels of government
    4. Nongovernmental organizations
    5. The private sector
  2. NIMS Components
    1. Preparedness
    2. Actions taken to plan, organize, equip, train, and exercise to build and sustain the capabilities necessary to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from those threats that pose the greatest risk.
    3. Within NIMS, preparedness focuses on the following elements: planning; procedures and protocols; training and exercises; personnel qualifications, licensure, and certification; and equipment certification.
  3. Communications and Information Management
    1. Emergency management and incident response activities rely on communications and information systems that provide a common operating picture to all command and coordination sites.
    2. NIMS describes the requirements necessary for a standardized framework for communications and emphasizes the need for a common operating picture.
    3. This component is based on the concepts of interoperability, reliability, scalability, and portability, as well as the resiliency and redundancy of communications and information systems.
  4. Resource Management
    1. The flow of resources must be fluid and adaptable to the requirements of the incident.
    2. NIMS defines standardized mechanisms and establishes the resource management process to identify requirements, order and acquire, mobilize, track and report, recover and demobilize, reimburse, and inventory resources.
  5. Command and Management
    1. Ongoing Management and Maintenance
    2. Within the auspices of Ongoing Management and Maintenance, there are two components: the National Integration Center (NIC) and Supporting Technologies
  6. Standardized organizational structures
    1. Enables a coordinated response among various jurisdictions and agencies
    2. Establishes common processes for planning and managing resources
    3. Allows for the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure
  7. A comprehensive, nationwide, systematic approach to incident management, including the Incident Command System, Multiagency Coordination Systems, and Public Information
  8. A set of preparedness concepts and principles for all hazards
  9. Essential principles for a common operating picture and interoperability of communications and information management
  10. Standardized resource management procedures that enable coordination among different jurisdictions or organizations
  11. Scalable so it may be used for all incidents (from day-to-day to large-scale)
  12. A dynamic system that promotes ongoing management and maintenance

[This course introduces NIMS. It is not designed to replace Incident Command System and position-specific training.]

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  • Lectures
  • Handouts
  • Videos
  • Class Discussion
  • Group Discussion
  • Individual Presentations
  • Case reviews

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Decision Making
  • Group Participation
  • Class Discussion
  • Individual Presentations
  • Practical Exercises
  • Written Exam

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Quizzes 20 points
Homework 10 points
Online IS 700a 10 points
Online IS 100b 10 points
Exam 50 points
Total 100 points

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at