First Responder Information

Free Hazardous Material Response Information Database (WISER)

Event Steps for First Responders

First Responder Checklist

Incident Management System (NIMS) Information

Now Available - Third Edition of Tips for First Responders


WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders)
WISER is a system designed to assist First Responders in hazardous material incidents. It was developed by the National Library of Medicine;
WISER provides a wide range of information on hazardous substances, including substance identification support, physical characteristics, and human health information, and containment and suppression guidance.
WISER also sends and receives information over the wide area wireless network, receiving new information from dispatch, HSDB, or other sources.
The WISER system concept is designed to work in a standalone or connected mode. The end user is preloaded with the most critical information. A wireless network sends new information between handhelds and routes requests for more information. If a wireless connection is not available, the handheld device still has full functionality with access to the critical local data available on the device.
  1. Verify the situation.
    • To the best of your knowledge have all facts been received?
    • Is the information consistent with other resources?
  2. Conduct notifications.
    • Has everyone on your team been briefed with all important information?
    • Have local and county agencies been notified?
    • Have appropriate federal agencies be notified?
    • Have other groups (e.g. clients, residents, and board members) been notified?
  3. Assess level of crisis.
    • Has a crisis level been identified that corresponds to the event characteristics?
    • Will federal agencies release information or will states?
  4. Organize assignments.
    • Are functional teams activated?
    • Do all those involved know their role and immediate tasks?
    • Are the spokespeople activated?
  5. Prepare information and obtain approvals.
    • Have you planned for a timely release?
    • Has the accuracy of all information been checked?
    • Has the message been cleared for release?
  6. Release information to public.
    • Has information been released as quickly as possible?
    • Was the same information given to all media at the same time?
    • Was information released to other groups as planned?



Notification: Use your crisis plan’s notification list to ensure all of the communication chain is aware and know you are involved. Ensure your leadership is aware and know that you are involved.

Coordination: Contact local, state, federal partners now. If a potential criminal investigation, contact FBI now. Initiate alert notification and call extra communication staff. Connect with the EOC to make your presence known.

Be first: Provide a statement that your agency is aware of the emergency and is involved.
Be Credible: Give directions to media the whereabouts to get updates form your agency.
Be right: Start media monitoring for misinformation that must be corrected now.

Public: Use your initial media statement as first message to public. Give pre-cleared facts you have and refer them to other information sites. Remind them that your agency has a process in place to mitigate the crisis. Make important first phone calls, based on your plan.

Resources: Conduct the crisis risk assessment and implement assignments and hour of operation accordingly.


National Incident Management System (NIMS)

NIMS was developed to provide a consistent nationwide approach for all levels of government to work together to prepare for and respond to domestic incidents.

For more information about NIMS, please visit the NIMS Resource Center on FEMA's website or call the Fillmore County Emergency Management office at (507) 765-4937.