The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers self-paced independent study courses for those who have emergency management responsibilities, but the content can be useful to the general public. All are offered free of charge to those who qualify for enrollment.
Two introductory courses have recently been revised. The FEMA website claims they only take between two and four hours to complete. Several members of SPARC have taken these classes and recommend them to anyone interested in learning more about handling major incidents.
IS-100.c, An Introduction to the Incident Command System, ICS 100
This course introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. The course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
IS-700.b, An Introduction to the National Incident Management System
This course provides an overview of NIMS. NIMS defines the comprehensive approach guiding the whole community — all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations (NGO), and the private sector — to work together seamlessly to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the effects of incidents. The course provides learners with a basic understanding of NIMS concepts, principles, and components.
Together, these two online courses form the foundation of NIMS training for all incident personnel.