Acquiring storing and inventorying resources are part of which nims management characteristics

Acquiring storing and inventorying resources are part of which nims management characteristics

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a standardized approach to incident management and response developed by the Department of Homeland Security. This comprehensive framework guides all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work together effectively and efficiently to prepare for, respond to, and recover from incidents, regardless of their cause, size, location, or complexity. One of the critical aspects of NIMS is the management of resources, specifically the processes of acquiring, storing, and inventorying these resources. These processes are vital to ensure that necessary resources are available and can be efficiently deployed during an incident.

Understanding NIMS Management Characteristics

Before diving into the specifics of resource management, it’s essential to understand the broader context of NIMS management characteristics. NIMS provides a set of standardized procedures, practices, and terminology designed to enable diverse organizations to work together effectively. The key management characteristics include:

  • Common Terminology: Ensures that all personnel involved in incident management use standardized terms and definitions.
  • Modular Organization: Structures can expand or contract based on the size and complexity of the incident.
  • Management by Objectives: Establishing specific, measurable incident objectives.
  • Incident Action Planning: Developing clear, concise action plans to achieve incident objectives.
  • Manageable Span of Control: Maintaining an optimal supervisor-to-subordinate ratio.
  • Incident Facilities and Locations: Establishing physical locations for various incident functions.
  • Comprehensive Resource Management: Systems to describe, inventory, track, and dispatch resources.
  • Integrated Communications: Developing a common communications plan.
  • Establishment and Transfer of Command: Clearly defining command procedures.
  • Chain of Command and Unity of Command: Clarifying reporting relationships.
  • Unified Command: Multiple agencies work together with common objectives.
  • Accountability: Ensuring all personnel are accountable.
  • Dispatch/Deployment: Ensuring resources are sent where needed.
  • Information and Intelligence Management: Gathering and sharing incident-related information.

The Role of Comprehensive Resource Management

Among these characteristics, Comprehensive Resource Management stands out as the one most directly related to acquiring, storing, and inventorying resources. This characteristic ensures that resources are managed efficiently and effectively, from the time they are acquired until they are no longer needed.

Acquiring Resources

Acquiring resources involves identifying the needs of the incident and obtaining the necessary supplies, personnel, and equipment to meet those needs. This process includes several steps:

  1. Needs Assessment: This is the initial step where the incident management team identifies what resources are needed based on the specifics of the incident. This involves determining the types and quantities of resources required.
  2. Sourcing: Once the needs are identified, the next step is to find where these resources can be obtained. This could involve tapping into existing inventories, mutual aid agreements, or purchasing from vendors. Sourcing also includes considering factors like cost, availability, and delivery time.
  3. Acquisition Methods: Resources can be acquired through various means such as procurement, mutual aid agreements, donations, or contracts. Each method has its protocols and considerations. For instance, procurement requires following established purchasing procedures, while mutual aid agreements necessitate coordination with other jurisdictions or organizations.
  4. Mobilization: After acquiring the resources, they need to be mobilized to the incident site. This involves coordinating transportation and ensuring that the resources arrive where they are needed, in the required condition, and within the necessary timeframe.

Storing Resources

Storing resources involves maintaining an inventory of resources in a state of readiness for deployment. Proper storage ensures that resources are available and usable when needed. Key considerations include:

  1. Storage Facilities: Resources must be stored in appropriate facilities that protect them from damage and deterioration. This could range from warehouses for physical supplies to databases for information resources. The choice of storage facility depends on the type of resource and its specific storage requirements.
  2. Inventory Management Systems: Utilizing inventory management systems to track resource quantities, locations, and conditions is crucial. These systems help in maintaining an accurate record of available resources, tracking their usage, and planning for replenishment.
  3. Maintenance and Readiness: Regular maintenance and checks are essential to ensure that stored resources remain in a state of readiness. This includes routine inspections, servicing of equipment, and ensuring that supplies are not expired or compromised.
  4. Security and Accountability: Ensuring that stored resources are secure from theft, misuse, or damage is another critical aspect. This involves implementing security measures and accountability protocols to track who has access to resources and how they are used.

Inventorying Resources

Inventorying resources involves creating a detailed list of all resources available for incident response, maintaining it up-to-date, and ensuring it is accessible to incident managers. This process includes:

  1. Resource Typing: Standardizing the classification of resources by categorizing them based on capability, capacity, and type. This helps in quickly identifying the right resources for the right job.
  2. Cataloging: Developing comprehensive catalogs that list all resources, their specifications, locations, and availability. This catalog should be regularly updated to reflect changes in resource status.
  3. Tracking: Implementing systems to track the status and location of resources in real-time. This can involve the use of technology such as GPS for equipment and personnel or inventory management software for supplies.
  4. Reporting and Documentation: Keeping accurate records and documentation of resource usage, status updates, and inventory levels. This documentation is vital for accountability, auditing, and planning purposes.

Integration into Incident Management

The processes of acquiring, storing, and inventorying resources are deeply integrated into overall incident management strategies. Effective resource management ensures that incident managers can quickly mobilize the necessary resources, maintain operational continuity, and adapt to changing incident dynamics. Here’s how these processes support broader incident management efforts:

Coordination and Collaboration

Resource management necessitates high levels of coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders. This includes local, state, and federal agencies, private sector partners, and non-governmental organizations. Effective communication and coordination ensure that resources are shared and utilized optimally, avoiding duplication and ensuring that all needs are met.

Efficiency and Effectiveness

By having a robust system for acquiring, storing, and inventorying resources, incident managers can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the response. Resources are available when and where they are needed, reducing delays and improving the overall response time. This efficiency is critical in mitigating the impact of incidents and accelerating recovery efforts.

Flexibility and Scalability

The modular nature of NIMS allows for flexibility and scalability in resource management. As incidents grow in size and complexity, the resource management processes can expand to meet increasing demands. This scalability ensures that resources are managed effectively, regardless of the incident’s scope.

Accountability and Transparency

Comprehensive resource management promotes accountability and transparency. By maintaining detailed records and documentation, incident managers can track resource usage, ensure proper allocation, and provide transparent reporting to stakeholders. This accountability is crucial for maintaining trust and ensuring that resources are used appropriately.

Challenges in Resource Management

While effective resource management is crucial, it is not without challenges. Incident managers often face several hurdles in acquiring, storing, and inventorying resources:

  1. Resource Scarcity: During large-scale incidents, resources can become scarce, making it difficult to acquire what is needed. This requires incident managers to prioritize needs and find innovative solutions.
  2. Coordination Issues: With multiple agencies and organizations involved, coordinating resource management can be challenging. Ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page and working towards common goals is essential.
  3. Logistical Constraints: Transporting and storing resources, especially in remote or disaster-affected areas, can pose significant logistical challenges. Overcoming these requires meticulous planning and coordination.
  4. Technological Limitations: While technology can aid in resource management, it also brings challenges such as system interoperability, cybersecurity threats, and the need for continuous updates and maintenance.
  5. Human Factors: Effective resource management relies on skilled personnel who can manage the processes efficiently. Training, retaining, and supporting these individuals is critical but can be challenging, especially in prolonged incidents.

Best Practices for Resource Management

To overcome these challenges and ensure effective resource management, incident managers can adopt several best practices:

  1. Developing Comprehensive Resource Plans: Creating detailed resource management plans that outline processes for acquisition, storage, and inventorying can provide a clear roadmap for incident response.
  2. Building Strong Relationships: Establishing strong relationships with suppliers, partner agencies, and other stakeholders can facilitate better coordination and resource sharing.
  3. Investing in Technology: Utilizing advanced technologies for inventory management, tracking, and communication can enhance efficiency and accuracy in resource management.
  4. Conducting Regular Training and Exercises: Regular training and simulation exercises can help personnel stay prepared and proficient in resource management processes.
  5. Establishing Redundant Systems: Developing redundant systems and backups for critical resources can ensure continuity in case of system failures or unexpected challenges.


Acquiring, storing, and inventorying resources are integral parts of the NIMS management characteristics, specifically under Comprehensive Resource Management. These processes ensure that resources are available, accessible, and usable when needed during an incident. Effective resource management supports overall incident response by enhancing coordination, efficiency, flexibility, and accountability. While challenges exist, adopting best practices can help incident managers overcome these hurdles and ensure a robust and effective response to incidents of any scale.

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