To:Head of Fire Departments
From:Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date:June 01, 2005
Re:NIMS Update

The National Incident Management (NIMS) Integration Center has developed guidelines for ICS training providers that will assist in ensuring that training offered meets the requirements for Homeland Security Presidential Directives 5 and 8, the National Incident Management System, and Governor's Letter of September 2004 which outlined the compliance standards for NIMS.


Homeland Security Presidential Directives were set forth after recognizing from several national events that governments at all levels needed to work better together to prepare, prevent, respond, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity. Significant to the directives remains the eligibility for emergency preparedness grant funding. In his letter to the Governors of September 2004, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge specifically highlighted to the maximum extent possible that states, territories, tribes, and local entities are encouraged to achieve full NIMS implementation and institutionalization across the entire response system during FY 2005.


The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (DFS) will establish a strategic plan designed, developed, and implemented in a phased approach for training programs to meet compliance initiatives with respect to the NIMS requirements that will assist in enhancing state and local emergency response capabilities.

Phase One

It is being encouraged that all fire service personnel in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts become compliant in NIMS. As part of Phase One of our planned approach, the DFS will be offering a series of courses to the fire service. The IS 700 - An Introduction to National Incident Management System and the National Fire Academy NIMS ICS for the Fire Service are courses that meet the training compliance for NIMS. These courses will be offered to fire departments across the Commonwealth as Train-the-Trainers. A flyer on the timeframes and locations for the initial course offerings is enclosed.

IS 700 - An Introduction to National Incident Management System

This is a four (4) hour period of instruction. The lesson will describe the key concepts and principles of NIMS, and the benefits of using the system for domestic incident response. NIMS is a comprehensive, national approach to incident management that is applicable at all jurisdictional levels and across functional disciplines.

The Department of Fire Services will offer a four (4) hour Train-the-Trainer program to all training officers or representatives of a fire department or fire district in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In each of the Homeland Security Regions, a minimum of three courses will be offered. This equates to fifteen (15) total course offerings for those interested in training the local fire department. Additional courses may be offered as the demand arises. Should the need arise and funding becomes available, the MFA will offer Regional Direct Delivery IS 700as a one time opportunity to a department. It is anticipated that courses related to ICS 100 and ICS 200 will be delivered in similar format, as they become available over the next year.

DFS is currently working with the Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS) on details for a reimbursement to your community or department for costs associated with your personnel attending these courses. You will soon receive additional information on eligibility for this reimbursement.

Steps to take

  • Have each member of your department who wishes to attend complete the enclosed standard MFA application.
  • Forward applications via fax (978-567-3229) or U.S. mail to Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, PO Box 1025, Stow, MA 01775

Additional Information

Also enclosed is a complete copy of the Implementation Plan for State and Local Level NIMS Compliance pdf format of nims_implementation_plan.pdf
and a CD overview entitled Nims Overview ppt format of nims_overview_audible.ppt
file size 2MB .

The Coordinator of Incident Command System Training Programs is Henry Michalski and he may be reached at 987-567-3252.


The fire service across the Commonwealth should become engaged in the NIMS training process, if not already involved. Every fire department should have a command system (ICS) and participate in the NIMS, as it evolves. All first responders should complete the IS 700 NIMS Awareness course. Remember, failure to train and plan in these areas may severely limit your organization's ability to provide assistance at future multi-jurisdictional incidents and most importantly jeopardize opportunities for future federal funding grant applications.