Closing out a great training week in Austin, Texas

Wow, it is really great to be home.  One week ago I was back from a week in Holden, Massachusetts and this past week I was in Austin, Texas.  And now I’m home.  Time to rest, recover, and tackle that Honey-Do List!

We had a terrific week in Austin this past week.  We met a lot of really good people from across the great state of Texas – people that are interested in helping citizens become better prepared for disasters.  This week I wrote about the diversity in our class … we had a couple of students representing the Yselta Del Sur Pueblo Tribe in the El Paso area; we also had a few students with the TEXSAR organization (search and rescue), and in my most recent previous blog I shared with you information about “Austin Disaster Relief Network” which is a faith-based organization.  I also wanted to mention a young lady we had in class this week.  “Vicky” was originally from Mexico and now lives in the United States.  English is not her primary language.  Vicky was in our class to learn how to manage and teach programs that are focused on the Hispanic population in our country who also don’t speak English as a primary language.  One of the more interesting presentations we had this week was during Vicky’s teachback when she spoke completely in spanish … and we (those that don’t speak spanish) were able to grasp the basic concepts she was covering!

Beyond the diversity in our class, I think the other aspect that made this class a bit unique is that we had so many experienced CERT instructors in the class.  Because of their tenure in the CERT program, their high level of interest in developing sustainability of CERT programs given the continual reduction in federal funding.  As one of my co-instructors said, we have to understand the federal money should be viewed as “seed” money – money used to start programs.  Once a program is started, sustainment (commitment) comes at the local level through things like the normal budgeting process of departments or agencies, formation of 501c3’s, partnerships between the private and public sector shareholders, etc.

Well, we had a great time in Austin.  I hope I get the opportunity to return and work with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the folks that were in our classes.  The following pictures reflect some of my final memories of our class and my trip to Austin, Texas.

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By the way, I came home to the latest issue of the www.drj.com.  I have an article titled “Training and Awareness in Business Continuity” now appearing in the Spring 2012 issue.  I hope you will take a few minutes to read the article and gain insight on how training and awareness efforts can strengthen our overall business continuity capabilities.

Looking ahead … plan on joining me again in a week when I’m off to Salt Lake City, Utah for another class of CERT Train-the-Trainer and Program Manager.  I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Salt Lake City or Utah, but I’m really looking forward to being there.  Stay tuned.

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