Home Podcasts THMG074 – Hazmat NIMS

THMG074 – Hazmat NIMS


In this episode, Bob and Mike explore NIMS and how it relates to the world of hazmat.

Complete Show Notes

3:30 What is NIMS?

  • The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a comprehensive national approach to incident management that’s applicable at all jurisdictional levels and across functional disciplines
  • Intended to be applicable across a full spectrum of potential incidents, hazards, and impacts, regardless of size, location, or complexity
  • In short, it’s how we set up a command structure at an incident that scales based upon complexity – incident commander is at the top

5:55 Incident Command System

  • The Incident Command System is a functional system that supports incident goals and objectives
  • We start by identifying what it takes to support our goals and objectives when addressing an incident
  • Identify the following:
    • People who do things in support of goals and objectives
    • People who get things in support of goals and objectives
    • People who collect, analyze, and plan things in support of goals and objectives
    • People who take care of clerical tasks in support of goals and objectives
    • People who lead and manage all of the functions necessary to support those goals and objectives
  • Once the functional support components have been identified, we can assign them to a formal ICS section based on our functional objectives

7:15 ICS Functional Support Components

  • Different roles include:
    • Operations – do things
    • Planning and intelligence – collect, analyze, and plan things
    • Logistics – gets things
    • Administration and finance – does clerical tasks
    • Incident command – leads and manages
  • All of this is tied in with LERP (local emergency response protocol) and SERP (state emergency response protocol)

8:45 Why Do We Care About NIMS?

  • We follow NIMS regardless of our run – from EMS incidents to a 28-alarm fire
  • In essence, only one person is in charge, and everyone else follows their direction
  • Police have their own command if they’re involved, and we have ours – those 2 leaders have to be in communication – this is referred to as unified command
  • NIMS has been around for a long time, but was only labeled after 9/11

11:00 NIMS Certification

  • I-100 – Introduction to ICS
  • I-200 – Basic ICS
  • I-300 – Intermediate ICS
  • I-400 – Advanced ICS

12:00 NIMS Terminology

  • Remember that titles don’t necessarily indicate rank – even firefighters can be chiefs in command positions
  • Labels given to people include:
    • Supervisor
    • Chief
    • Officer
    • Leader
    • Manager
  • Location names include division and sector
  • Resource group names include task forces, branches, and groups

15:10 Hazmat Branch of NIMS

  • This branch controls many operations, including site safety, rescue, entry operations, decon, containment and confinement, sampling, and even medical monitoring
  • Not all of these slots need to be filled, but it’s advisable to fill them with technician-level personnel
  • All of the operations at a scene must be documented – in the U.S., we use a form called ICS Form 214
  • Hazmat roles include:
    • Hazmat officer
      • Reports directly to the hazmat chief, who is also known as the operations sector chief
      • Responsibilities include developing the IAP and making the site safety plan, among other things
    • Entry team leader
      • Leads the operation inside the hot zone, including mitigation and rescue
    • Decon leader
      • In charge of the warm zone
      • Supervises decon, figures out decon methods, controls entry and egress, and coordinates with the medical branch
    • Site access control leader
      • In charge of entry and egress of all personnel, contamination control, keeping records, and making sure everyone comes out clean
    • Hazmat safety officer
      • Designation required by OSHA 1910.120
      • Responsible for all safety at the scene
      • Has the authority to alter, suspend, or terminate any operation in an IDLH atmosphere when they deem it necessary to protect the safety of any responder
      • This person needs to be one of the most knowledgeable people at the operation
      • As per NFPA 472, this position must be staffed by someone at the technician level
      • However, OSHA law states that it can be staffed by someone at the operations level
    • Hazmat logistics officer
      • Makes sure everything you need to do your job is available or on the way
    • Safe refuge manager
      • Handles the triage of victims for treatment
      • Collects information from victims
      • Prevents victims from spreading contamination
    • Medical officer
      • Responsible for medical evaluation and monitoring of personnel
      • Handles treatment of personnel in contact with the product
      • Helps with triage if necessary
      • Maintains medical records
    • Research officer/technical specialist
      • Gathers and evaluates information from various sources
      • Provides any pertinent information about the incident to the appropriate individuals

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