Why are NIMS Courses (ICS100-200-700-800) Required for AUXCOMM?
Some people have asked why the four FEMA ICS courses are a basic requirement for getting your AUXCOMM certification. It is a valid question, one deserving of a comprehensive answer. But, short answer is that whenever there is an emergency event or training mission covers more than one city or county, all operations are required to be conducted under the National Incident Management System, NIMS, guidelines. These guidelines were established after 9/11, when it was determined that a lack of common operating procedures hampered the emergency response effort.
You have probably heard the stories of how different agencies, like a fire department, could not talk directly to each other, not only because of the different frequencies and systems they used, but because their jargon was different. This was a serious problem, so a presidential directive issued in 2003 (Homeland Security Presidential Directive #5) required that all state, federal, state, territorial, Tribal and local responders must comply with NIMS if they are to receive federal funds, a pretty strong incentive. NIMS is an integrated system that establishes a uniform set of processes, protocols, and procedures that all emergency responders, at every level of government, will use to conduct response actions.
Since the mission of AUXCOMM is to provide communications support to emergency responders, AUXCOMM qualified individuals must know at least the basics of NIMS and its guidelines for communicating. FEMA provides online training courses that provide this basic knowledge. The four ICS courses are:
- ICS-100: Introduction to the Incident Command System
- ICS-200: ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
- IS-700: National Incident Management System, An Introduction
- IS-800: National Response Framework, An Introduction
These 4 courses will provide enough understanding of NIMS for a volunteer responder to be able to participate in an emergency or a training exercise. The courses are all offered online at the FEMA Emergency Management Institute website. It should not take you long to complete them, about 45 minutes to an hour each. Tests are open book and you can do them at your leisure.
When you finish each course, you will be given a certificate that can be downloaded. You will need these certificates so you can upload them to the AUXCOMM website. Once all four certificates are uploaded, we will review them, and if all is order, you will be given your AUXCOMM certification.