Emergency Management Institute (EMI) Commences the National Emergency Management Executive Academy Cohort II
EMI conducted the first class for Cohort II of the National Emergency Management Executive Academy from February 10-13, 2014, in Emmitsburg, MD. EMI partnered with Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative to bring two Harvard faculty members to EMI to teach a course entitled, “Emergency Management – A Leadership Challenge.”
Thirty‐five participants were selected for the Executive Academy from the federal, state, local and private sector emergency management community. Professors Barry Dorn, M.D., and Leonard Marcus, Ph.D., provided the participants with extensive information, activities and feedback from their years of work in the field of emergency management and homeland security executive leadership. The professors also introduced a new case study, Leadership in Response to the Boston Marathon Bombing, which they developed based on their research into decision-making during the bombing response.
One goal of the Executive Academy is to present theories, tools and resources that enable decision-makers to think and act more strategically, apply critical thinking processes and practice Meta-Leadership principles. This first in a series of four resident education courses in the program focused application of the five dimensions of Meta‐Leadership in the emergency management work environment. The five dimensions are: self-awareness (especially in crisis situations); situational awareness; leading one’s organizational base; leading up in the organization; and leading across organizations to establish and maintain connectivity.
Conflict resolution and negotiation techniques were also explored, using a conflict mode self-assessment tool and the "Walk in the Woods" method for interest-based negotiation. Dr. Dorn and Dr. Marcus developed the “Walk in the Woods,” a four-step technique for multi-dimensional problem solving, based on years of research and experience in change management and negotiation practice.
Another goal of the Executive Academy is to provide the opportunity for peer-to-peer learning by working collaboratively on projects. The Cohort selected six group projects to work on throughout the Executive Academy: Continuity of Operations for Institutions of Higher Education; Meta-Leaders Take on Drought; Managing a Cyber Incident; Science, Technology and Resilience (STAR); Enhancing Multi-Jurisdictional Collaboration and Leadership Tools for Making Informed Decisions.
FEMA Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness, Timothy W. Manning, addressed the participants and engaged in a discussion about this Academy’s goal of educating current and future senior emergency management leadership.
The Executive Academy consists of a total of four resident sessions, periodic webinars, readings and projects. Those who successfully complete the entire program will receive a National Emergency Management Executive Academy Certificate of Completion.
For more information about the National Emergency Management Executive Academy and other components of the Emergency Management Professional Program, visit: http://training.fema.gov/EMPP/
EMI Works With the American Council on Education to Acquire Credits Awarded for Several Courses
On February 20, 2014, a team consisting of a national coordinator and four reviewers from the American Council on Education (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT) arrived at the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) to conduct a two-day site review of EMI courses. ACE’s CREDIT recommendation program connects workplace learning with colleges and universities by helping adults gain access to academic credit for formal courses and examinations taken outside traditional degree programs.
ACE reviews are carried out by experienced college and university faculty who assess the content, scope and rigor of an organization’s training programs, courses or examinations and make appropriate recommendations for comparable college credit.
The ACE review team examined 16 of EMI’s courses, of which 15 were being reviewed for the first time, and one was being re-reviewed due to course revisions. The team reviewed student manuals, instructor guides, handouts, visuals and assessment tools (i.e., activities and examinations). All 16 of the courses are being proposed for college level credit.
If a student wants to receive credit for an EMI course they completed, they must contact the ACE CREDIT Service. ACE will work with the NETC’s Admissions Office for a transcript. ACE coordinates with the designated college/university that can either accept or reject the recommendation. To find out more about ACE CREDIT, visit their website at http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/College-Credit-Recommendation-Service-CREDIT.aspx.
To view which EMI courses currently have ACE CREDIT recommendations, visit their online National Guide at: http://www2.acenet.edu/credit/?fuseaction=browse.getOrganizationDetail&FICE=300757
Virtual Table Top Exercise Conducts Multiple Events in Second Quarter of Fiscal Year 2014
The EMI Virtual Table Top Exercise Program (VTTX) continued reaching out to a diverse training audience in 2014 and set conditions for critical thought and information sharing in the “Cloud.”
EMI’s VTTX program offers an all hazards approach, a capability based focus and encourages whole community participation, and is an innovative approach to emergency management training.
EMI conducts a monthly series of Virtual Table Top Exercises using a video teleconference platform to reach community based training audiences around the country and provide a virtual forum for disaster training.
VTTX events conducted in FY 2014 include: three tornado scenario events in January, two wildland fire scenario events in February, a public health chemical scenario in concert with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in February, and two flood scenario events in March.
In FY2013, the EMI VTTX program conducted 24 four-hour exercises (96 hours), and virtually reached 231 community based groups and trained 3,645 participants.
For more information on the EMI VTTX program please contact Todd Wheeler, Training Specialist, Integrated Emergency Management Branch, DHS/FEMA/Emergency Management Institute, 16825 S. Seton Ave., Emmitsburg, MD 21727, Office Phone: (301) 447- 1101, FAX: number (301) 447-1006, or by email at: Todd.Wheeler@fema.dhs.gov.
EMI Conducts Two Flood Scenario Virtual Table Top Exercise Events in March 2014
EMI virtually hosted two Virtual Table Top Exercises (VTTX) March 18-19, 2014, with participation from 20 community based groups around the country. Participants included ten local jurisdictions, one tribe, one state organization, six federal agencies, and two military facilities.
The VTTXs were conducted using video-teleconferencing technology (VTC) that provided an opportunity for responders across the nation to simultaneously participate in hazard-specific facilitated discussions. The goals of the VTTX exercises included enabling VTTX participants to exercise their knowledge, skills and abilities needed to effectively conduct all-hazards emergency preparedness, response and recovery to:
- Prepare participants for a flood scenario affecting their community;
- Enable participants to better coordinate their response operations with counterparts from local governments, other state governments, federal agencies, private sector organizations and non-governmental agencies;
- Leverage VTC technology to reach remote sites to provide training to more participants; and
- Provide a virtual, experiential education environment to exercise and enhance critical response and recovery tasks.
The VTTX Program is designed for a “community-based” group from state, local, and tribal emergency management organizations with representation from all emergency management disciplines including public safety, public works, public health, health care, government, administrative, communications, military, private sector, non-governmental, and other whole community partners involved in a flood focus incident response and recovery.
The VTTX is a pre-packaged set of exercise materials that allows for greater participation from remote locations and access to all the needed materials as the exercise is conducted by participating organizations. The new/novel delivery method will allow participating communities to share real-time flood scenario related preparation, response and recovery concerns, and solutions with all participants providing a unique environment for learning lessons and sharing information.
For more information on the EMI VTTX program please contact Todd Wheeler, at: Todd.Wheeler@fema.dhs.gov.
Student in EMI Master Exercise Practitioner Program (MEPP) Engages Whole Community in an Evacuation Drill
Every year, beginning in July, a team of staffers from the Integrated Emergency Management Branch at EMI begin the process of reviewing more than 300 applications for candidates interested in the Master Exercise Practitioner Program (MEPP). The MEPP is a three-week long course designed to give candidates hands-on experience in an exercise planning team. They are tasked with designing, developing, and conducting a wide range of exercises including tabletop exercises, functional exercises and full-scale exercises.
In addition to their work in the classroom they are tasked with two take-home assignments – a tabletop and functional exercise designed for their specific community.
Shawn Kauffman, Centre County, Pennsylvania’s Emergency Coordinator and a 2014 MEPP candidate used this assignment to partner with Penn State University’s (PSU) student volunteers and organizers of the annual THON event. THON is a 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon event held annually in February and organized entirely by student volunteers.
Every year, THON draws an estimated 15,000 students to PSU’s Bryce Jordan Center to raise money in the hopes of finding a cure for pediatric cancer. This year’s event raised more than $13 million dollars.
The 2014 THON Dance Marathon weekend vastly improved upon the preparedness efforts of the PSU student community as Kauffman, along with THON organizers and the PSU Emergency Management Office conducted a tabletop exercise and drill. The exercise mobilized hundreds of PSU volunteers at THON for a simulated emergency evacuation drill as they reviewed and practiced emergency plans and procedures.
The drill helped students prepare for a potential evacuation in case of a real emergency as they learned what to do and how to evacuate. The procedures were important preparedness steps in saving lives in a potential emergency.
This is just one example of the type of exercises that are designed as a result of the MEPP. EMI encourages MEPP candidates to partner with the whole community to design and conduct exercises to better prepare citizens for a potential emergency.
For more information about EMI training classes and programs, go to: https://training.fema.gov/emi/
For more information about THON and about the evacuation drill, visit:
New Ways to Professionalize the Emergency Management Profession
EMI’s Emergency Management Higher Education Program continues to add ways to “get the word out” in meeting its mission to help professionalize the emergency management profession through education and educational activities. The latest method is called virtual symposia.
The Higher Education Program completed its fourth virtual symposium January 9, 2014. The topic for the session – “Getting Students Experience.”
The primary goal of the virtual symposium is to provide a forum for collegiate faculty, administrators and students to network with each other and with representatives on the emergency management professional organizations which are also invited to the symposium.
According to Dr. Houston Polson, Director of the Higher Education Program, “Getting students experience is vitally important. Having an opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom and put it into practice is a huge step.”
The 70 participants heard two presentations covering different approaches to getting students experience.
Professor Thomas Lennon, of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA), described how MMA partnered with the EDEM (Haitian Creole (local language) for “Help Me) Foundation, a Haiti-based non-governmental organization, to support a program focused on sustainable development issues for the small island community of Ile-a-Vache, Haiti. Typically eight students spend four to five weeks on Ile-A-Vache, working with local government officials in developing sustainable mitigation and preparedness strategies and programs.
Dr. John Fisher, of Utah Valley University (UVU), then described a different approach to getting students experience – by participating in exercises. Dr. Fisher explained the program UVU has successfully used for several years. The students undergo an intense orientation seminar, a tabletop exercise, and a short functional exercise. The capstone is a full-scale, two-week exercise in Macedonia.
The virtual symposium series has become a standard component in providing information to colleges, universities, and other interested parties engaged in emergency management educational activities.
For more information on future webinars, contact Dr. Houston Polson, Director, Emergency Management Higher Education Program at: (301) 447-1262 or Houston.firstname.lastname@example.org.