Emergency Services Interactive Systems’ (ESIS) coordinated NIMS incident planner, or CNIP, provides for the centralized management of emergency response procedures that help commanders develop incident action plans during disasters, said Dan Linehan, co-developer. Linehan said the software houses digitized versions of NIMS incident command system (ICS) forms that are used to develop incident action forms, such as those that establish management structure and ensure compliance with Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements.

By digitizing ICS forms, data can be automatically populated into related forms when entered into the system. An intuitive GUI lets users simply follow a wizard that captures the information necessary to complete an IAP and then automatically enters the information into related fields across multiple forms, Linehan said. It resides on an IronKey flash drive, an encrypted, high-level storage device created specifically for the military and others with top security issues. He said it lets users in remote locations access incident action plans directly from a laptop without the use of the Internet.

“The flash drive lets you work anywhere, making it a very mobile platform,” Linehan said.

Linehan said CNIP has been used during Haitian earthquake and Deepwater Horizon resource coordination. It was deployed by Utah Task Force 1—a 70-person Task Force that is part of Salt Lake Urban Search and Rescue—to coordinate its effort in the Haitian disaster zone and special projects/decon branches in charge of decontamination of boats during the Deepwater Horizon clean-up efforts. While CNIP is ideal for emergencies and disasters, he recommended it be used on a daily basis or for special events that agencies have on an annual basis. It familiarizes users to ICS and the paperwork needed to develop an IAP. It also supplements training programs, which may have been slashed because of current budget pressures faced by public-safety agencies.

“So by using the software and ICS structure to address a civic event and place responders in that planning process, you are actually practicing for a disaster response while you are working,” Linehan said.

CNIP meets all NIMS and ICS standards and criteria as mandated by Presidential Homeland Security Directive 5. The software also standardizes ICS terminology and ensures complete interoperability between differing command units, Linehan said. It costs $1,500, which includes free upgrades when forms are changed by FEMA. There is no annual subscription.