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FEMA Requesting Comments on NIMS Guideline for Personnel Credentialing

New York, Dec 25, 2008

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that it is accepting comments on the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Guideline for the Credentialing of Personnel. The draft guideline addresses how to best credential the personnel who respond to incidents, including large-scale terrorist attacks and catastrophic natural disasters that require inter-state deployable mutual aid.

NIMS was established in 2003 to facilitate coordination among federal, state, tribal, and local governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental in preventing, responding to, and recovering from incidents related to homeland security. One initiative in the NIMS scope of work is the credentialing of emergency response personnel.

The newly created guideline will encourage interoperability among federal, state, and local officials and will facilitate deployment for response and/or restoration. The recommendations will lead to a more efficient processing system and a quicker response time, and will also allow incident commanders to exercise enhanced access control in times of crisis.


The American National Standards Institute Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) conducted a series of three ANSI-HSSP Workshops on Credentialing and Access Control, which were held in October 2007 and in January and July 2008.

Over one hundred subject-matter experts from companies, organizations, and government agencies focused their efforts on developing a contribution to the NIMS Credentialing Standards Working Group. In general, participants found that issues of access control and credentialing needed to be kept distinct, and that in the name of efficiency, access should be granted based on affiliation with an identified facility rather than on individual qualification verification. In addition, the group found that many applicable standards already exist in the emergency services area, and advised the NIMS Working Group to base their final solution on this existing body of work.

Guidelines found in the document are based on scalable, flexible, and adaptable coordinating structures that align key roles and responsibilities across the country. Best practices for managing interstate disasters are provided, as well as an integrated credentialing system that can be universally employed.

Comments on the document can be submitted in several ways: through the Federal eRulemaking Portal (follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket ID FEMA-2008-0015); by e-mail to (include Docket ID in the subject line of the message); by fax (866-466-5370); or by mail/hand delivery/courier to: Regulation & Policy Team, Office of Chief Counsel, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Room 835, 500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472.

Comments should be identified as pertaining to “Docket ID FEMA-2008-0015.”

For more information, see the related Federal Register report and the webpage.

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