In the emergency management field, NIMS defines structures that guide how personnel work together during incidents. This includes Incident Command System (ICS) and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) structures, as well as Multiagency Coordination Groups Which NIMS Structure Makes Cooperative Multi-Agency Decisions?
MAC groups are off-site coordination bodies that make cooperative decisions to support resource prioritization and allocation. They enable decision-making among elected and appointed officials and the Incident Commander responsible for managing an incident.
Incident Command System
NIMS requires public safety agencies and other departments to adopt the Incident Command System (ICS). The system promotes efficient and coordinated response. It provides standardized operating procedures and organizational structure for controlling personnel, facilities, equipment, and communications at incident scenes.
The ICS organizational structure evolves in real time based on incident conditions at the scene. One ranking person assumes the management and control role, known as the Command function. Depending on the circumstances, the command function may operate in a Single Command or Unified Command.
ICS is sensitive to the basic management principle of span-of-control, which limits the ratio of subordinates to managers. In small highway incidents, a single person can perform the command function effectively, and a small organization is sufficient for most responses. As the size and complexity of an incident grows, more ICS leadership is required. In addition to the Command element, a Planning Section Chief is designated to develop an Incident Action Plan.
Emergency Operations Center
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is a state-of-the-art facility that serves as the central point of command and control for all incidents that occur on the DOE/NNSA sites. The EOC follows the National All-Hazards approach to manage emergency planning, training, response, and recovery activities. The facility features a Main Coordination Room, Media Center, Training Room, Management Section Room, Public Information Officer Room, Executive Conference Room, and six flexible-use break-out rooms. The EOC is equipped with a surveillance system, emergency backup generators, reserve water storage tanks, and redundant heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems.
Multi-agency coordination groups are responsible for making cooperative decisions.
Policy-setting entities are typically comprised of agency administrators/executives or their designees from agencies or organizations that have resources committed to an incident. MAC Groups provide high-level decision-making and policy coordination, enabling elected or appointed officials to work together, and enhancing unity of effort at the senior level.
NIMS doctrine provides very little content on the MAC Group, and there are no NIMS courses specific to this component. However, there are ICS-100 and ICS-300 courses that address the Incident Command System, and a separate NIMS course, IS-701, addresses the Multiagency Coordination Systems.
NIMS allows emergency management personnel to communicate and collaborate effectively through standardized organizational structures, processes, and terminology. It also enables organizations with jurisdictional or functional responsibilities to support each other while maintaining their own authority and accountability. This is essential for effective response and recovery. In addition, NIMS promotes a comprehensive preparedness process that includes training, exercises, and planning.
Joint Information System
The Joint Information System is a network that allows agencies to exchange information during an incident. It also allows organizations with different jurisdictions to coordinate operations and support activities. It can help ensure that the information you provide is consistent and accurate.
They are responsible for making cooperative multi-agency decisions. These groups are offsite locations where staff from multiple agencies come together to make decisions and provide support. They are able to assign resources and prioritize needs for the response.
MAC groups are part of the NIMS Command and Coordination Structures. These structures describe recommended organizational structures for incident management in the operational and incident support levels. They also describe leadership roles and processes.