The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, identified numerous gaps with domestic preparedness. One of the deficiencies which became apparent was the lack of coordination among emergency first responder agencies. The National Wildland Coordinating Group’s history of the Incident Command System was referenced and used as examples, but emergency organizations would adopt their “own” version of the ICS system. These differences cultivated into logistic problems during the large-scale incidents in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. The Bush Administration formulated plans through the development of Homeland Security and Presidential Directives. An essential component in the program was HSPD-8 which was designed to reflect the policy direction outlined in the National Security Strategy. A fundamental element was the development of the National Incident Management System.
I believe all of these advancements were an excellent approach to improving domestic preparedness except the delivery and application. As a fire service educator, I continually witness organizations who struggle with the all-hazards approach to managing events using the NIMS model. Often I hear of personnel who did not take the online programs such as NIMS 700, 800, 100 and 200; instead they just plugged the answers in the test to satisfy a government requirement. Using an online delivery program which lacks integrity controls have left huge gaps in the system.
Another issue is the application during the delivery of NIMS 300 and 400. I understand it was easier to develop a “standardized, canned program” but my experience has demonstrated that if the scenarios do not apply to the audience buy-in and understanding become difficult. Changing the scenarios and resources to match what the students typically have tremendously improved the outcome of these classes.