Just How Standard is the NIMS Standard?
Findings from Current Implementation Behavior Research

Jessica A. Jensen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, North Dakota State University
Associate Director, Center for Disaster Studies and Emergency Management

September 14, 2011

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Audio Podcast (MP3)
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Related Web resources:
JHSEM Article, "The Current NIMS Implementation Behavior of United States Counties"
JHSEM Article, "Volunteer Fire Department Perceptions of ICS and NIMS"
IJMED Article, "NIMS in Rural America"
Dissertation, Emergency Management Policy: Predicting NIMS Implementation Behavior
Natural Hazard Center QR 203, "NIMS in Action: A Case Study of the System's Use and Utility"
NDSU Center for Disaster Studies and Emergency Management

26 Ratings Submitted
4 (15%) Academia 3 (11%)
10 (39%) Business 5 (19%)
11 (42%) Government 16 (62%)
1 (4%) Volunteers 1 (4%)
0 (0%) Other 1 (4%)

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"I appreciate even limited research in the EM field. It is great that the forum provides the opportunity to review and discuss the research and its implications."
Rey Thompson

"I concur with Dr. Jensen on NIMS compliance and accurate implementation within communities depends heavily on cohesive and committed collaborations between community leaders and organizations instead of turf wars between public response agencies and nongovernmental critical infrastructure."
Marla Kendig

"It was very good."
HSE Ireland

"EXCELLENT PRESENTATION! Great dissertation & Journal article. Further questions:
1) Did you actually find ANYbody who uses the NIMS Compliance Assistance Support Tool (NIMSCAST) [168page PDF]?
2) Was there much awareness of various DHS(/related) websites like LESSONS LEARNED, WISER, etc.?
FYI: Amateur Radio EmComms is requiring learning NIMS & ICS in order to participate in EmComm activities."
LW Abel [K7LWA]
EmComms Training Dev

"Thank you to the Forum and to Dr. Jensen for this presentation. While I found we fit precisely on that curve as I expected, it was great to feel "I am not alone" here. Having worked in both urban and rural EM communities, I can say from first hand the major impediment to both intended and actual implementaion is the relative strength of the command structure in the local (and state) jurisdiction."
Bob Davisson
Benton CO EMA

"Good summary on lack of implementation of NIMS as designed. Did not define what implementation with modification meant. Did not address what needs to be changed to get buy-in on NIMS implementation as designed."

"Good forum; limited by forum style and time. However I believe it was useful and certainly showed the need for more research/attention to the issue. Especially research as it applies to actual implementation and effects of same in the field."

"Easily believe that in some areas there are major disconnects from County emergency managers and responders in the field as it relates to implementation, and the degree thereof. Thanks to the speaker and for Forum's effort on this subject matter."
Robert Hare

"More research would be good to find out what would help local organizations become more NIMS-compliant. Are the local EMs and First Responders short of the required manpower? Do they have too many irons in the fire as a result of funding shortfalls?"

"Good research. NIMS is a good tool. Personal experience in doing training, this may be unique to few departments, volunteer/paid on-call in some cases resent being trained, the current operation is sufficient - no need for NIMS."

"Excellent topic and presenter. Confirms that what we are seeing at our local level is consistent with other areas in the U.S., i.e., taking NIMS and adapting portions of it to make it useable in our jurisdiction."
Karen Yeargain
Crook County Health Department

"Compelling topic and initial findings. The research findings give me ideas on things to look at, but not specific tangible actions to take to improve NIMS implementation. But that's okay!"

"I am still learning the about ICS and NIMS and this was very useful towards my learning process. Thank you!"

"Not directly relevant to my (non-NIMS using) organization. However, the structure and findings of the study were fascinating and, to a degree, transportable to my business. The presenter was superb - articulate and expert."

"Thank you; great presentation."

"Good topic."

Here in Pinal County I have noticed that Public Works as well as the Sheriffs Office is lacking in NIMS Compliance. Being prior Wildland Firefighter I am very familiar with NIMS/ICS. More studies should be done! Thank you for hosting this event.
David Thompson
Superstition Search & Rescue

Very good program. It is very timely for something that I was working on and I appreciate being able to garner a few very important findings from the presentation. Being able to read the transcripts is very important for people like me that want to listen real time but get diverted by work issues. Thank you!

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Jessica Jensen is an Assistant Professor at North Dakota State University and Associate Director of the Center for Disaster Studies and Emergency Management. Her research has primarily focused on perceptions about and implementation of the National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System. She has conducted five separate studies on the topics.

Jensen also writes on the topic of the development of emergency management as an area of study (including its disciplinary nature, core concepts, theory, and curriculum); and, her research interests have expanded recently to include a focus on recovery and voluntary agency involvement in emergency management.

Jensen regularly works with practitioners to link academic work on hazards, disasters, and emergency management to practice in the field. For example, the document, Preparedness: A Principled Approach to Return on Investment, that was recently featured on EMForum.org was the product of her collaboration with the United States Council of the International Association of Emergency Managers.

Jensen holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in emergency management and a B.A. in political science..