Teaching at FEMA EMI

Hi and Welcome back to my blog.

I hope you had the opportunity to take part in some sort of preparedness activity or event last month during National Preparedness Month.

This month, I’m actually trying something different.  Rather than write a single blog for the first half of the month, I’m going to be writing a daily blog for the next six days.  The theme for these “daily musings” will be my observations and experiences while teaching a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute (EMI) .

WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)?

Now, don’t leave me just yet.  Stay with me for the week.  I want to share with you some ideas about preparedness, as well as some history and some sights from this fantastic facility that is available to those interested in helping make our country a better place.

I have long been a fan of FEMA’s training program.  Having been in this business for over 20 years, I’ve taken a lot of training.  Some good, some not so good.  Some costly, and some rather inexpensive.  From my experience, 95% of the time or greater, FEMA’s training is top quality and inexpensive since most, if not all, of the cost is covered by FEMA.  And then, add to that the indirect value of being able to network with peers from all across the country!  In my mind, it’s very hard to beat this opportunity.

Why I’m here

If you are a reader of my blog, or looked at my LinkedIn profile , or perhaps know me personally, you know that while I continue to look for a full-time position in the business continuity/emergency management field (any chance you have an opening or know of one?), I’m doing some contract consulting and teaching.  This week, I’m under contract with FEMA to instruct CERT Train-the-Trainer and Program Manager courses.

First, a little bit about EMI

EMI serves as the national focal point for the development and delivery of emergency management training to enhance the capabilities of State, local, and Tribal government officials; volunteer organizations; FEMA’s disaster workforce; other Federal agencies; and the public and private sectors to minimize the impact of disasters and emergencies on the American public.

EMI curricula are structured to meet the needs of this diverse audience with an emphasis on separate organizations working together in all-hazards emergencies to save lives and protect property. Particular emphasis is placed on governing doctrine such as the National Response Framework, National Incident Management System, and the National Preparedness Guidelines.

In 1980, FEMA established the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) in Emmitsburg MD to reflect a broader responsibility to train and educate emergency managers for all types of disasters and emergencies.  This year represents a milestone of emergency training as 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the beginning of emergency training at EMI.

Enrollment in EMI courses is generally limited to U.S. residents; however, each year a limited number of international participants are accommodated in EMI courses. To take a course at EMI, applicants must meet the selection criteria and prerequisites specified for each course.  Participants may not take the same course more than once.

Along with leader-led on campus courses, EMI also offers self-paced courses designed for people who have emergency management responsibilities and the general public. All are offered free-of-charge to those who qualify for enrollment.

Travel and Arrival on Campus

Anyone coming to EMI generally has several choices available for their travel.  If you are close, you can drive and park your car on campus.  For those traveling from farther away, you will fly into either Baltimore (BWI) or Washington D.C. (Ronald Regan National).  You may also choose to travel by train or bus.  For those flying into either Baltimore or D.C., a scheduled shuttle bus will take you from the airport to EMI.  The buses are very comfortable and make the 75-90 minute trip go by fairly quickly.

Registration

Upon your arrival, you’ll check in at the Registration desk in the “C” building.  The staff that’s on hand to register you is very friendly and helpful.

"OK kids, we're here" - the entrance to the "C" building

Registration Desk - "Next please"

While your tuition and books are paid for, as is your transportation, you do have to purchase a meal ticket that covers all your meals while you are on campus.  Anyone staying on campus must purchase a meal ticket.  I’ll be sure to include additional information about the “chow hall” in another blog this week.

So what are the rooms like?

While you won’t confuse your lodging with that of a premium hotel, it is single occupancy and very comfortable.  Rooms come with a private bath as well as a small refrigerator, microwave, iron and ironing board, and a television with plenty of cable channels.  Additionally, the
entire campus is wired for WiFi so you have high-speed internet access in your room.

A typical guest room at EMI

For the rest of the week, I’ll be providing updates concerning the class, the campus, and how you can become part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.  I really hope you will follow me all week.  And if there’s something specific you want to know about, drop me a note and I’ll include it in a future posting.  Stay tuned!

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