Winding down at FEMA EMI

We’ve come down to the wire with one day left on a week of training that’s been fabulous.  Again, we’ve worked with great people from all over this great country.  People who are eager to help their communities be more resilient to disasters by helping citizens become better prepared.  And how fitting is it to end on a high note on Memorial Day weekend.  A true American holiday!

Welcome to “CERT Program Manager”

Today we started our CERT Program Manager class which prepares participants to establish and sustain an active local CERT program.  In the beginning, we told students that managing a CERT program has a great many similarities to running a small business.  And while challenging, it can be very rewarding.

Today, our students began learning about the core components of a local CERT program and the effective practices for:

1. Developing local CERT program goals and a related strategic plan – I believe this is THE most critical component of the CERT program.  Unless we spend the requisite time doing a terrific job of defining our program Goal and the subsequent program Objectives, the other components we place on top will wobble and perhaps even fall.  I saw it in my corporate career and I see it today with programs like CERT.  With well thought out and documented objects, we are able to gain the support of our key “stakeholders” and ensure that we follow the road to success.

2. Promoting local CERT programs – throughout the entire program life-cycle we are always promoting.  Promoting our goal(s) and objectives, promoting our training, promoting the benefits of CERT and the capabilities (value) a team of trained volunteers brings to the community.

3. Orienting and managing and retaining CERT members – Without volunteers we simply don’t have a program.  It’s that simple.  Volunteers are the backbone of program.  If we provide outstanding training, provide useful opportunities for our volunteers to engage, treat them with respect, value them, and recognize their contribution, our programs will grow and flourish.

4. Recruiting, funding, managing, and retaining CERT trainers – Top-quality instructors are vital to the overall success of our programs, just as our volunteers are.  As we talk about with our students, our volunteers will make decisions about our programs based on the instructors they interact with in training.  If we have dynamic, energetic, knowledgeable instructors our volunteers will learn correctly and will come back for more.  As role models, coaches, and motivators our instructors have the opportunity to create an environment that encourages our volunteers to “get involved”.

5. Acquiring and managing program resources – Similar to any other business, to produce the goods and services (ie training, exercises, operational response) a CERT program is built around, Program Managers must obtain and manage resources, both people, materials, and financial.

Tomorrow, our students will wrap up learning about the remaining core components of a local CERT program and the effective practices for:

6. Delivering and managing effective training and exercises

7. Developing policies and procedures for operating a local CERT program

8. Evaluating and sustaining the program

Finally, after class today, I spent time walking around this gorgeous campus.  Let share with you some pictures from both our class and around campus.  I hope you’ll come back tomorrow and read how we closed out the week.

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