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National Incident Management System: Credentialing

identify personnel deployed to an incident and authenticate and verify their qualifications.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) developed the “National Incident Management System (NIMS) Guideline for the Credentialing of Personnel” to describe national credentialing standards and to provide written guidance on how to use those standards.

NIMS Guideline for the Credentialing of Personnel

Why credentialing is important

Credentialing is essential to the emergency management community because it verifies the identity and attributes (e.g., affiliations, skills or privileges) of response team members through standards. The standards allow the community to plan for, request and have confidence in resources deployed from other jurisdictions for emergency assistance. Credentialing also ensures that personnel resources match requests and support effective management of deployed responders.

The credentialing guideline

The “Guideline for the Credentialing of Personnel” can be applied to support personnel as well as nongovernmental organizations and the private sector. The guideline includes:

  • Guidance on national credentialing standards.
  • Operational definitions and important terms related to credentialing.
  • Ways to adapt the national credentialing standards to departmental, agency, jurisdictional or organizational requirements.
  • Additional guidance and technical assistance on credentialing.

Through this guideline, DHS/FEMA encourages interoperability among federal, state, local, territorial, tribal and private sector officials to facilitate emergency responder deployment for response, recovery and restoration. You can find more information on credentialing at