Homeland Security and Emergency Services

Resource Management & Mutual Aid

The purpose of this page is to provide information on NIMS resource typing, NIMS credentialing, inventorying, and the National Mutual Aid System. It also contains a link to the Resource Typing Library Tool. This page is intended for all emergency management and response organizations as well as whole community partners.

  • Typing - Resource typing is defining and categorizing, by capability, the resources requested, deployed and used in incidents. Resource typing definitions establish a common language and defines a resource's (for equipment, teams, and units) minimum capabilities. NIMS resource typing definitions serve as the common language for the mobilization of resources.

    FEMA leads the development and maintenance of NIMS resource typing definitions that are national in scope.

  • Credentialing - Qualifying and credentialing personnel ensures that the identity and attributes of individuals or members of teams are validated against an established set of minimum criteria and qualifications for specific job titles. The NIMS Guideline for the Credentialing of Personnel can be found at: national-incident-management-system/publications-index.

    FEMA leads the development and maintenance of NIMS job titles/position qualifications, which serve as a common language for describing the job titles and a consistent set of minimum qualifications for use in the qualifying and credentialing of personnel.

  • Resource Typing Library Tool (RTLT) – The RTLT is the online catalogue of all NIMS resource typing definitions and job titles/position qualifications that have been released by FEMA as final publication or interim guidance.

    The RTLT and all NIMS resource typing definitions and job titles/position qualifications released by FEMA can be found here: https://rtlt.preptoolkit.org.


Resource owners and providers should inventory and maintain current information on their shareable resources. Resource inventories should be adaptable and scalable.  In order to ensure adaptability and scalability, a jurisdiction or entity's inventory should employ interoperable standards for information sharing.  While a resource inventory can be as simple as a paper or electronic spreadsheet, many resource providers use information technology (IT) based inventory systems.

Incident Resource Inventory System (IRIS) - The Incident Resource Inventory System (IRIS) is a distributed software tool, provided at no-cost by FEMA. It is standards-based and allows for the seamless exchange of information with other instances of IRIS and with other standards-based resource inventory and resource management systems.  IRIS allows users to identify & inventory their resources, consistently with NIMS resource typing definitions, for mutual aid operations based on mission needs and each resource's capabilities, availability and response time, and share information with other agencies. IRIS stores data locally on the user's computer or on the user's network if configured during installation.

To download IRIS to your computer or network use this link: https://nimstools.preptoolkit.org/.

National Mutual Aid System

The National Mutual Aid System is built upon the integration of all types of mutual aid that are most often described by geo-political boundaries, including: local, intrastate, regional, interstate, tribal, and international mutual aid into a single system. Each level utilizes the level below it to create a unified national system for response to significant incidents.  When integrated and working in a unified manner, the system strengthens the overall preparedness and readiness of the Nation.

Mutual aid agreements already exist in various forms among and between all levels of government.  These agreements authorize mutual aid between two or more neighboring communities, between all jurisdictions within a state and between states. Agreements can also be with and between private sector entities, NGOs, and other whole-community partners. The emergency management community should consider resources and capabilities across the whole community, and develop written agreements that facilitate access to potentially needed resources.