Colorado NIMS implementation

Matt Coldwell, Project Manager, Colorado State Patrol, Centennial, Colorado
Judy Workman, CEM, Fleet Manager, City of Westminster, Colorado; member, APWA Fleet Services Committee

In March 2004, the Secretary of Homeland Security, at the request of the President, released the National Incident Management System (NIMS). The NIMS is a comprehensive system that will improve response operations through the use of the Incident Command System (ICS) and other standard procedures and preparedness measures. It will also promote development of cross-jurisdictional, statewide and interstate regional mechanisms for coordinating incident management and obtaining assistance during large-scale or complex incidents.

To receive FY 2006 preparedness grant funds from any federal department or agency, Colorado will have to self-certify that they have met the minimum FY 2005 requirements.

Beginning in FY 2007, which starts on October 1, 2006, all federal preparedness funding will be conditioned upon full compliance with the NIMS. By completing the FY 2005 activities as well as the FY 2006, Colorado will have achieved what is considered to be full NIMS implementation by FY 2007.

The Four Phases of NIMS Implementation
Adoption of NIMS in Colorado will include four distinct phases. The first phase will be initial training and modification of existing trainings. The second phase will include evaluation of existing plans, policies, and procedures to identify aspects in need of augmentation for NIMS compliance. The third phase will be the modification of existing plans, procedures, and policies to reflect NIMS adoption. The fourth phase will verify achievement of the NIMS Integration Center's standards.

The Colorado Department of Public Safety in conjunction with Division of Emergency Management have been providing the required ICS and NIMS training, in support of Phase I, to all first responders in the state since FY 2005. Requirements vary by discipline, but it's important to note that public works employees are considered first responders by DHS and therefore required to complete the required training in order for the jurisdiction to be certified as NIMS compliant.

Colorado is unique in the nation for our compliance activities pertaining to the resource management requirements of NIMS. NIMS requires that states:

  • Maintain a response operation capable of expanding to meet an escalating situation and the ability to integrate resources and equipment from intrastate and interstate mutual aid agreements, state-provided assistance and federal government response;

  • Order and track response assets using common resource typing and definitions, and draw on mutual aid agreements for additional assistance;

  • Establish staging and allocation plans for the redistribution of equipment, supplies and aid coming into the area from other localities, states or the federal government through mutual aid agreements.

To comply with these requirements, we have partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group to adopt the Resource Ordering and Status System (ROSS) to inventory, track and deploy all all-hazard equipment and individual resources throughout the state. Adoption of ROSS also supports Colorado's Emergency Resource Mobilization Plan.

The State of Colorado established an Equipment Typing Committee for review and updating equipment typing for vehicles for the purpose of various responses to Colorado emergencies. The committee has completed the first phase of the task of identifying 18 additional pieces of equipment and typing the equipment for state emergencies response. The next phase is contacting various public and private agencies to enter into intergovernmental agreements to be able to respond to requests for equipment in an emergency and track equipment in a uniform manner as outlined above.

If you would like more information on the program please contact Matt Coldwell at (720) 852-6744 or, or Judy Workman at (303) 430-2400 or