Our last training day at FEMA EMI

Today we completed our CERT Program Manager course here in Emmitsburg, MD on the campus of FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI).  We started strong and finished strong.  Overall, we’ve enjoyed a great week of training, and today specifically we ended class with everyone’s expectations being met.

Following on my blog from yesterday, today we addressed the remaining topics in the Program Manager class:

Delivering and managing effective training and exercises – Training is the core deliverable of a CERT program.  We conduct training for several reasons including to keep skills sharp, improve capabilities, maintain volunteer interest and involvement, and to give the Program Manager and the instructors an opportunity to interact with volunteers.

Developing policies and procedures for operating a local CERT program – Policies and procedures are required when there is need for consistency in day-to-day operational activities.  Policies and procedures give guidance to staff and volunteers on how to perform job correctly and they are guideposts for program and help eliminate common misunderstandings.  Examples of Policies a CERT team may have might include Code of Conduct, Sexual Harassment, and Social Media

Evaluating and sustaining the program – As I shared with the students, along with developing strong program goals and objectives that fulfill our program vision, a sustainable program also includes tools and strategies in which to evaluate progress.  Along with data collection and interpretation, use of a Program Report that documents evaluation results is vital in order to communicate success to our various stakeholders.

Last minute tour

At the end of our class today, there were several students that had not yet had a chance to see several of the sites on the campus that offer truly memorable experiences.  So, in order to be a good instructor, I contact Campus Security who very graciously agreed to allow us access behind closed doors.  Our first stop was at the Chapel that is on campus.  As I wrote previously in my October 2011 blog, during the early 1800s, Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton, the only canonized American-born saint, established the Daughters of Charity in Emmitsburg.  In 1809, she opened a boarding school for girls on this site.  The school later became St. Joseph’s College, one of America’s first Catholic women’s colleges.  The Daughters of Charity closed the College in 1973, and sold the buildings and more than 100 acres to the federal Government in 1979.

Mother Seton selected the site for the Chapel before her death in 1821. Construction of the Romanesque Revival-style chapel began in 1839.  The exterior is brick set on a stone foundation. Tuscan pilasters with granite capitals and bases, semi-circular stained glass windows, brick dentils, and a wood niche grace the outside of the building.  A low, turned rail separates the nave from the sanctuary with its marble altar and massive pedimented niche.  The bell that hangs in the steeple came from Spain in 1841.

During the Civil War, the Daughters of Charity went to the nearby Gettysburg battlefield and set up headquarters in the McClellan Hotel.  From this base, they went out to several sites to nurse the wounded.  Both Union and Confederate troops were on the Emmitsburg campus prior to the end of June 1863. After the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate soldiers passing by the campus in escape were fed.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation formally dedicated the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel to the memory of Chief A. Marvin Gibbons of Maryland in 1998. This tribute reflects the many contributions Chief Gibbons made to the establishment of the annual Memorial Service and the National Fallen Firefighters Monument.

After touring the Chapel, we went over and saw the Auditorium that is on the second floor of “E” Building.  All I can say about the auditorium is that it is large and beautiful.  Today it is used for various graduation ceremonies on campus as well as other special events.

After leaving the Auditorium, we walked over to “the cabin” which is a fairly large cabin that sits in a park like setting adjacent to EMI.  It’s a popular place where many classes have their “graduation” dinner on the final night of their class.  When we went over, we met several members of Boy Scout Troop #76 from Fairfield, PA.  It was a pleasure to have met them.

Our final stop on the tour was in the back area of the campus.  It was an area I had never been to even after coming here for many years.  It turned out to be a fire school “classroom” that included several buildings that had been burned.  Our understanding from what we were told is that some classes use the facility to practice fire-fighting techniques, while others use it for fire crime scene investigation.  Very cool!

The following slide show includes pics of some of the sites we saw along the way.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I had a great week this week.  Paul, John, and Harry are terrific instructors to work with.  I really appreciate the interest and effort our students brought to class every day.  Y’all were a great class!

So, I’m home for a few weeks and then back here at EMI.  Please plan to come back on June 1 for a regular installment of my blog.  Until then, enjoy a safe and fun filled Memorial Day!


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