The Incident Complexity Guide: Planning, Preparedness and Training supports the National Incident Management System (NIMS) doctrine by establishing guidance to support the incident management and emergency management community.


The Incident Complexity Guide promotes a common language and shared understanding of incident complexity across the whole community to determine the complexity or difficulty of managing a disaster, incident, event or exercise. Using a common approach and consistent method for determining incident complexity will improve the effectiveness and implementation of NIMS and the National Preparedness System and improve or maintain the qualifications of incident management personnel.


FEMA released the draft in January 2021 for a 30-day national engagement period. During the national engagement period, FEMA hosted a series of webinars in January and February with more than 500 registrants. The project team reviewed and adjudicated the comments in consultation with multiple stakeholder groups.


The guide supports existing resources to enhance the decision-making process across all hazards and jurisdictions and improve overall readiness. The Incident Complexity Guide is recognized nationally as part of a host of emergency management guidance available from FEMA's National Integration Center (NIC). Its concepts and instructions can enhance national preparedness and promote effective implementation of NIMS and the National Preparedness System.


FEMA will host two, 30-minute webinars to discuss the NIMS Incident Complexity Guide and answer related questions. All webinars are open to the whole community.  Advance registration is required and on a first-come, first-served basis:


REGISTER:       Webinar #1 June 29, 3:00 PM EDT


Webinar #2 July 27, 3:00 PM EDT


Get a copy of the guide here: Incident Complexity Guide


National Incident Management System

NIMS Basic Guidance for Public Information Officers