Day Four @ EMI

Well, we’re slowly winding down the week here in Emmittsburg, MD.  The weather today?   … sunny and mid-60’s and the same for tomorrow.

Today was a day off for us so I had the opportunity to walk around town for a bit as well as get caught up on other business.  Tomorrow, we’ll start our next class “Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program Manager” class.

I’ve long been an advocate of CERT training.  I believe it’s one of the greatest programs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has ever come up with to help people become prepared for disasters that may affect them.  While written for, and most commonly delivered in, a community setting, I believe CERT can very effectively be incorporated in a corporate setting in support of existing business continuity, safety and health functions.  While not specifically identified in industry standards such as PS-PREP, DRII Professional Practices, or BCI Good Practices, one could easily make an associative connection.

We know from past disasters, that when an incident is big, first responders are overwhelmed and in the end, there simply isn’t enough to respond to everyone.  We also know that unless employees and their families are prepared (and taken care of) they won’t be returning to work anytime soon.  So, as a business owner or manager, it’s in your best interest to make sure your employees are prepared.

In an article I wrote a few years ago titled “When Professional Responders Can’t Respond:  Why You Need a Well-Trained Corporate CERT” I asked the following questions:

  • What if there was a fire in your business? Would you know what to do? Do you, or those around you, have the knowledge and resources to put out small fires before they become big ones?
  • What if you had to evacuate? Do you know how to evacuate a facility without creating greater panic? Would you know where to go?
  • What if someone was trapped? What would you do if it was a co-worker, friend or family member? Do you know how to help them without making things worse? Wouldn’t you want help if you were trapped?
  • What if there was a medical emergency? Could you effectively treat cuts, breaks, sprains, or something worse? Could you effectively deal with multiple medical emergencies?
  • What if first responders didn’t come? How would you respond if the professional first responders did not arrive as expected and you are left on your own with a few untrained helpers for 12 – 72 hours?
  • What if your family wasn’t prepared? Is your family capable of effectively dealing with emergencies if you are not there?  How effective will you be at work if you are worried about your family?

So, if there’s a disaster that affects your business and your employees will you have access to your “most valued” assets?  I would welcome the opportunity to help you identify potential holes you may have.

Let’s walk into town

When you walk out the front gate at EMI, it’s a short 15 minute walk (about a mile) to downtown Emmittsburg.

"Welcome To Emmittsburg"

"Civil War Trails" road sign

Walking along South Seaton Avenue (following the Maryland Civil War Trails), you’ll pass the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seaton and the Daughters of Charity.

The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seaton and the Daughters of Charity

A little further up the street, you’ll come to the Emmittsburg Post Office (Zip Code 21727).  While the Post Office itself isn’t remarkable there are two historical markers out in from that tell quite a story about the Army of the Potomac dating back to July 1863.

USPS 21727

Once we get into downtown, we turn to the left and we’ll come upon the Ott House .  The Ott House is a local family owned
pub that has long been “the place to go to” when you are on the EMI campus.

The infamous Ott House

Just down the street (a couple of doors down) from the Ott House is the home of the Vigilant Hose Company  – Fredrick County’s Station #6 (Emmittsburg) very proud volunteer fire department.  This is also a must see when you are on campus.  The folks that work at the fire house a very accommodating to visitors.

Vigilant Hose Company

Along with what I’ve shown you, there are a few little retail shops in town as well.  But that’s about it, within walking distance.  So, let’s head back to campus.

FEMA Trailers

Some time ago (more than a year ago), FEMA placed several “trailers” on campus as disaster housing project test.  I think the idea was to incorporate these into student housing and have students evaluate the units.  The following pictures are examples of the trailers they have on campus.

Disaster Housing Pilot Project


A nice single

The Civil Defense/Emergency Management Memorial

This memorial is in memorium to Col. John E. Bex who was the Regional Director of DCPA Region 2 (Civil Defense Preparedness Agency, Olney MD).  After he retired, Col. Bex served in a consulting function to FEMA Directors.  While assisting FEMA he requested a Congressional proposal to erect a memorial to civil servants on the grounds of the National Emergency Training Center (NETC).

Traditionally, Friday is departure day, so most of the students will be leaving campus early tomorrow morning.  So my remaining time on campus should be fairly quite.  More tomorrow.

TIP:  Here’s a nice website from NASA about preparedness 


2 Responses to Day Four @ EMI

  1. Have you ever had to use your training in an emergency situation, or have you used it at all on the individual neighbor to neighbor level?

    What made you want to do this type of community service?

    • Tim Bonno says:

      Thank you for reading my blog and asking such a great question. Fortunately, I have not had to use my CERT training in a disaster. I have used my emergency medical training on a few occassions. I would say that my CERT training is what encouraged me to join the Search and Rescue Team that I’m now on … which was deployed to Joplin, MO following the tornado earlier this year. i guess the reason I do it is to help others. My family and I have been blessed, and I feel it’s only right that I give back a little. Best wishes and stay safe! Tim

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