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  • NIMS mandates becoming unreasonable

    Just this last January and February, in our state there were scheduled classes to train instructors for ICS 300 and 400. Now we are learning that NIMS/ICS are putting further constraints on how a person or department can get their certifications.

    NIMS/ICS now says it will not allow training classrooms to be held anymore. The reason is they feel that instructors have an incentive to give the answers to the students thus corrupting their intentions.

    Then the NIMS/ICS gestapo personnel do not even like more than one person taking the exam on one computer. It is like they want one computer for one persons certifications.

    Now we are hearing that the reason why they are constantly throwing monkey wrenches in our efforts to get this certifications that they demand, has a sinister agenda behind it. They are getting nasty at the state level and at the local level is where this illogical and borderline phycotic pattern is ending up.

    Maybe this is being designed to fail for a reason. Maybe it has to do with all volunteer departments.

    So either NIMS/ICS has become completely irrational (which it has), or there is some designed intent behind this irrational activity of late.

    Whatever has happened to NIMS, I am sick of chasing after their demands to comply and document and their non stop roadblocks they throw in the way.

    Getting sick of NIMS

    (RANT)

  • #2
    I got the 300 under my belt. When I looked to get my 400, I had two other classes offered the same weekend... I couldn't be everywhere at once. The bum is that NIMS barely ever schedules in my area. I'll have to travel far and wide to secure 400. It IS a burden.
    A coward stands by and watches wrongs committed without saying a word...Any opinions expressed are purely my own and not necessarily reflective of the views of my former departments

    Comment


    • #3
      i got 100,200,700,800 to my name, thats it.

      Comment


      • #4
        I've got my 100, 200, 300, 400, 700, 800 plus I'm a NIMS instructor. I'm also my department's NIMS Compliance Officer. Probably the worst 2 classes to take are the 800 and the 400. Other than that, I think the 300 is probably the best class overall in terms of getting a true understanding of how the process should really work.

        Depending on who grants your instructor certification, it can be pretty easy to get to next-to-impossible. My state fire training bureau granted mine; a weeklong course with pre-reqs that you already had your fire service instructor along with all levels of ICS (100, 200, 300, 400, 700, 800).

        I haven't heard anything about not allowing classroom training anymore. What I do know is in taking the tests, each individual has to take their own test; there's no sharing answers and no group testing for the lower level classes. Its always been that way though. To say NIMS/ICS won't allow classrooms is misguided, when you consider the CDP continuously teaches the NIMS courses in a classroom setting.

        The simplest way I found to get my people certified was to put it on them. I set a date for everyone to turn in their certificates for 100, 200 and 700. I gave them the website information and then let them work at their own pace. Other than that, they did it all on their own. I also had my departments command officers all take the 800 course while on-line.

        I wish my state and local level were pushing for more NIMS training. Last week I contacted my state homeland security agency head and was given a load of bologna when I started asking questions on testing and certifications. To top it all off, my local emergency management official told me that our fire department didn't need to have any NIMS training. WTH??? When I point out that federal grant applications have pages that you are required to list positions and levels of NIMS held, they thought I was full of it.

        It isn't that its completely irrational, it's that it isn't understood well enough by those who are supposedly running the show at the upper levels. Then their ignorance has that trickle-down effect. When I inquire as an instructor about test forms and certificates, only to get told I don't need to give tests and I can "make my own if I really want them", I have the tendancy to loose complete faith in those who are supposedly running the grand show.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by WBFD25 View Post
          I've got my 100, 200, 300, 400, 700, 800 plus I'm a NIMS instructor. I'm also my department's NIMS Compliance Officer. Probably the worst 2 classes to take are the 800 and the 400. Other than that, I think the 300 is probably the best class overall in terms of getting a true understanding of how the process should really work.

          Depending on who grants your instructor certification, it can be pretty easy to get to next-to-impossible. My state fire training bureau granted mine; a weeklong course with pre-reqs that you already had your fire service instructor along with all levels of ICS (100, 200, 300, 400, 700, 800).

          I haven't heard anything about not allowing classroom training anymore. What I do know is in taking the tests, each individual has to take their own test; there's no sharing answers and no group testing for the lower level classes. Its always been that way though. To say NIMS/ICS won't allow classrooms is misguided, when you consider the CDP continuously teaches the NIMS courses in a classroom setting.

          The simplest way I found to get my people certified was to put it on them. I set a date for everyone to turn in their certificates for 100, 200 and 700. I gave them the website information and then let them work at their own pace. Other than that, they did it all on their own. I also had my departments command officers all take the 800 course while on-line.

          I wish my state and local level were pushing for more NIMS training. Last week I contacted my state homeland security agency head and was given a load of bologna when I started asking questions on testing and certifications. To top it all off, my local emergency management official told me that our fire department didn't need to have any NIMS training. WTH??? When I point out that federal grant applications have pages that you are required to list positions and levels of NIMS held, they thought I was full of it.

          It isn't that its completely irrational, it's that it isn't understood well enough by those who are supposedly running the show at the upper levels. Then their ignorance has that trickle-down effect. When I inquire as an instructor about test forms and certificates, only to get told I don't need to give tests and I can "make my own if I really want them", I have the tendancy to loose complete faith in those who are supposedly running the grand show.
          Well done.

          Then why the threats and the gestapo attitude on the state level. Seems we collect our certifications at least once a year. Why does NIMS want everyone to submit their certifications after they have received them several times over? Getting a little tired of jumping at their request when they have the information already.

          Now new ones I understand, but they are not asking for just that, they want everyones. Again. For us volunteers it is our free time they are stepping on again and again and that time is getting less and less for us in this country. NIMS gets paid to do its stuff. We do not and it is getting to the point if NIMS decides to withhold funding because of a failure of meeting requirements, then they are going to get taken to court over it.

          Nims has the records of certifications, then they need to investigate the certification required per position. They also need to quit with the stacking on more requirements. If you remember they promised it would be a one time requirement depending upon the situation. This isn't like my being an employer documenting and paying employment taxes or accounting and collecting sales taxes for the government. (or maybe it is) but enough is enough dealing with NIMS. On a national level is appears to be a bust anyway. On a local level it is a great idea.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jam24u View Post
            Then why the threats and the gestapo attitude on the state level.
            Sounds like a state issue -- not a NIMS issue.

            Why does NIMS want everyone to submit their certifications after they have received them several times over?
            To the best of my knowledge, they don't. This also sounds like an issue of state bureaucracy and poor record keeping on thier part.

            Now new ones I understand, but they are not asking for just that, they want everyones.
            FWIW, presumably everybody's department keeps training records. It should be a trivial matter for any department to produce a roster of members and their NIMS training.

            NIMS gets paid to do its stuff...if NIMS decides to withhold funding
            NIMS is a set of incident management standards. It doesn't get paid nor does it withhold funding. Who are you actually referring to?
            "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
            sigpic
            The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

            Comment


            • #7
              Actually I'm finding more of a NIMS issue than state cause everytime I turn around there's another "required" level of training and it has to be done by a certain date or you can't ride. But of course, you can never find a place that has the training and when they do offer it, it is when a majority of the volunteers are at their normal jobs who can not make it. And the response from NIMS is usually TS.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Leeland View Post
                Actually I'm finding more of a NIMS issue than state cause everytime I turn around there's another "required" level of training and it has to be done by a certain date or you can't ride.
                According to whom?
                "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                sigpic
                The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ok, in Indiana the "requirements" appear to still be in process of being ratified.

                  However, it is increasingly difficult as a volunteer to clear time to travel for a class.

                  Either classes pop up few and far between in secret locations or I am just not connected enough I guess.

                  Leeland is correct in respect to the fact that it is tough to find courses that are offered on a VFD schedule.

                  If NIMS is made available in a sufficient number of locations for 300 and 400 then we might just get this puppy whipped... Otherwise, it will be the few, the proud, the paid staff only who basically are trained to run the show. (This is not a disparaging remark towards paid/career FFs, just an observation.)
                  Last edited by Fireeaterbob; 08-24-2010, 03:12 PM. Reason: spelling
                  A coward stands by and watches wrongs committed without saying a word...Any opinions expressed are purely my own and not necessarily reflective of the views of my former departments

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I did a little looking into the question raised about why we have to keep taking the NIMS classes even though we've already had them. Here's what I came to learn: a few years ago, FEMA's computers crashed and in the process, lost most of the NIMS certification records. I know this is as my entire department took 100, 200 and 700 about 5 years ago and barely any of us were able to get a transcript a year ago when we inquired about them. So, to cover our bases, we took the tests again.

                    I also know that for some crazy reason, the cirriculum is constantly changing. I liken it to Haz-Mat, where we keep doing one thing over and over until someone dies, then we change our response and so on. I actually go on-line to FEMA's site and take the basic level tests every 3 months, just to stay on top of my game.

                    From what I've seen, and I agree with the previous posts, its downright impossible to find the classes available locally or even in one's state at all. My best advice is if you can take the vacation time, or better yet, your employer will pay you to be gone, go down to the Center for Domestic Preparedness and take the upper level courses. The government pays practically all expenses - airfare, room, board, tuition.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by WBFD25 View Post
                      FEMA's computers crashed and in the process, lost most of the NIMS certification records.
                      Having obtained much older course transcripts from FEMA since then, I find this hard to believe.

                      I know this is as my entire department took 100, 200 and 700 about 5 years ago and barely any of us were able to get a transcript a year ago when we inquired about them. So, to cover our bases, we took the tests again.
                      Nobody in the department kept training records locally? No offense, but that's afully sloppy recordkeeping.

                      I also know that for some crazy reason, the cirriculum is constantly changing.
                      Like any decent curriculum, it is occasionally updated. However, if you've ever taken a NIMS course, you're not required to take it again just because a newer version comes out.

                      From what I've seen, and I agree with the previous posts, its downright impossible to find the classes available locally or even in one's state at all.
                      All the NIMS training John Q. Firefighter needs is available online: NIMS 100, 200, 700, and maybe 800.

                      NIMS 300 is intended for middle management and above; people who are expect to be:

                      command staff, section chiefs, strike team leaders, task force leaders, unit leaders, division/group supervisors, branch directors, and multi-agency coordination system/emergency operations center staff.
                      NIMS 400 is intended for:

                      command or general staff in an ICS organization, select department heads with multi-agency coordination system responsibilities, area commanders, emergency managers, and multi-agency coordination system/emergency operations center managers.
                      For those few who actually need NIMS 300 & 400, it's not as if there shouldn't be qualified instructors available at the state or even regional level:

                      ICS-300 INSTRUCTORS
                      • At least two instructors recommended to conduct ICS-300 classes;
                      • Lead Instructor should have successfully completed ICS-400;
                      • Unit Instructors should have successfully completed ICS-300;
                      • Lead instructor should have served as served as Incident Commander or in a command staff or general staff position in an incident that went beyond one operational period or required a written Incident Action Plan (IAP); and
                      • Unit instructors should have served as served as Incident Commander or in a command staff or general staff position; or, have specialized knowledge and experience appropriate for the audience, such as public health or public works.

                      ICS-400 INSTRUCTORS
                      • At least two instructors recommended to conduct ICS-400 classes;
                      • Instructors should have successfully completed ICS-400 and IS-800 National Response Plan, An Introduction;
                      • Lead Instructor should have served as served as Incident Commander or in a command staff or general staff position in an incident that required multi-agency coordination and went beyond one operational period or required a written IAP;
                      • Unit Instructors must have served as served as Incident Commander or in a command staff or general staff position in an incident that went beyond one operational period or required a written IAP; or, have specialized knowledge and experience for the audience, such as public health or public works.
                      ADULT EDUCATION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ICS-300 AND ICS-400 LEAD AND UNIT INSTRUCTORS
                      • Formal instructor training such as college courses, National Wildfire Coordinating Group Facilitative Instructor M-410 course, Emergency Management Institute Master Trainer Program, National Fire Academy Instructional Methodology class, or DHS Office of Grants and Training’s Instructor Training Certification Course, or equivalent.
                      "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                      sigpic
                      The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Getting the minimum classes [100,200 700] online are just something we have to find time to do.

                        The problem is at command level ie Captains & above it's very hard to find the courses offered without several hours travel required and the loss of pay for 2 days sitting in a course while the career folks are there on the clock or even overtime because they're offshift.

                        I took a 3 day course a couple years ago that was offered locally [only 25 miles away] by the folks from Texas A&M and Homeland security. It was a relevant topic in our area and I did learn a few things from it.
                        At the same time I think we taught the feds a few things during our "field exercise" on hazards & risk control .

                        However out of twenty five officers and management level responders in the class, there were only two people in the room not getting paid to be there, myself and one other volunteer Captain from a neighboring dept.

                        The issue is how the system is set up. In bigger populous areas it's much easier to find a course than out here in the rural areas. In reality there are much more rural areas than big city/urban areas in this country.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In Illinois, all the classroom NIMS courses are offered free of charge by the Illinois Fire Service Institute, all taught pretty regularly throughout the state. Does your state have anything similar to this? We also have the ability to request IFSI to come to a firehouse and put the course on.

                          Like DeputyMarshal said, all the certs for line personnel are available free and online. Just take a day and do it, and you never have to go back. Yea, for 300 and 400, you might have to travel. But it's 1 week to complete both of them, and in the big picture, that's not that bad. For any officers that don't like this, well, go back to being a black helmet. You took the position, it's just more training and responsibility. Part of the job.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FFMedic31 View Post
                            Yea, for 300 and 400, you might have to travel. But it's 1 week to complete both of them, and in the big picture, that's not that bad. For any officers that don't like this, well, go back to being a black helmet. You took the position, it's just more training and responsibility. Part of the job.
                            Does your employer pay you to take a week off and go train?

                            I'm self employed and in my big picture, customers don't pay me to not be there.

                            The courses only cost a minimal amount of money <50.00. it's the cost of the travel and lodging , meals ,on top of missed work that makes it hard on many folks to accomplish.
                            Yes it's only more training and more responsibility on top of a thousand other silly little requirements that the feds, the state, the department of labor, OSHA keep piling on top of us. Along the way there's records to keep up with hose to be tested , trucks to be maintained, EMS classes to take to maintain license, >>>> And O yeah there"s emergency calls to run . Then there's more paperwork to fill out and computerized reports to file, where does it end?????

                            OK Jam , now ya got me going in rant mode! are ya happy :-}

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by islandfire03 View Post
                              Yes it's only more training and more responsibility on top of a thousand other silly little requirements that the feds, the state, the department of labor, OSHA keep piling on top of us.
                              You accepted the responsibility when you chose to become an officer. Training comes along as part of the package and it's not as if NIMS 300 and 400 aren't useful classes -- they're the same classes we've had available for officers for decades just updated to NIMS language.

                              Just remember, nobody anywhere is required to be NIMS compliant. All you have to do is forego any federal grants or contracts if it's all that inconvenient.
                              "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                              sigpic
                              The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

                              Comment

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