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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Disaster Prep Wednesday: Free Disaster Prep Courses from FEMA

When I was earning a certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management from the University of North Carolina, one method of getting students from a variety of backgrounds speaking a common "language" of disaster work was to have us complete several courses from the Emergency Management Institute - FEMA Independent Study Program:
FEMA’s Independent Study Program offers courses that support the nine mission areas identified by the National Preparedness Goal.

- Incident Management
- Operational Planning
- Disaster Logistics
- Emergency Communications
- Service to Disaster Victims
- Continuity Programs
- Public Disaster Communications
- Integrated Preparedness
- Hazard Mitigation
There are 186 courses available - from the core you can expand into areas of interest to you.

These courses run the range from "IS-1.a Emergency Manager: An Orientation to the Position" to "IS-2900 National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) Overview. " You take them online and complete a quiz at the end to get a certificate of completion for each course.

There are also 16 courses that deal with the National Incident Management System:
EMI replaced its Incident Command System (ICS) curricula with courses that meet the requirements specified in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). EMI developed the new courses collaboratively with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG), the United States Fire Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Further, there is a FEMA program that is neighborhood oriented, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) with a course designed to introduce you to the concept of CERT and their place in disaster management, IS-317: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams:
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates individuals about disaster preparedness and trains and organizes teams of volunteers that can support their communities during disasters. The CERT Program offers training in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations. With proper CERT training, you can help protect your family, neighbors, and co-workers if a disaster occurs.

"Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)," IS-317, is an independent study course that serves as an introduction to CERT for those interested in completing the basic CERT training or as a refresher for current team members. The course includes six modules: CERT Basics, Fire Safety, Hazardous Material and Terrorist Incidents, Disaster Medical Operations, and Search and Rescue, and Course Summary.

While IS-317 is useful as a primer or refresher for CERT training, it is not equivalent to, and cannot be used in place of, the classroom delivery of the CERT Basic Training. To become a CERT volunteer, one must complete the classroom training offered by a local government agency such as the emergency management agency, fire or police department. Contact your local emergency manager to learn about the local education and training opportunities available to you. Let this person know about your interest in taking CERT training.
Local CERT associations may conduct training in CERT matters. For example, an association near me offers:
Members are expected to complete the Basic Training course. Additional ongoing training is provided at monthly meetings and other events.

The CERT Basic Training is delivered in one of two ways. These are held several times each year, depending on demand.
a) Seven week version - 2 1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period plus a Saturday exercise
b) Single weekend version - 3 hours on a Friday night followed by 8.5 hours each on Saturday and Sunday.

You must be 18 yrs or older unless you attend with a parent.

The training consists of the following:

Session I, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable in their community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during, and after a disaster. As the session progresses, the instructor begins to explore an expanded response role for civilians in that they should begin to consider themselves disaster workers. Since they will want to help their family members and neighbors, this training can help them operate in a safe and appropriate manner. The CERT concept and organization are discussed as well as applicable laws governing volunteers in that jurisdiction.

Session II, DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION: Briefly covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, sizing up the situation, controlling utilities, and extinguishing a small fire.

Session III, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.

Session IV, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.

Session V, LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.

Session VI, DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker. It addresses CERT organization and management principles and the need for documentation.

Session VII, COURSE REVIEW AND DISASTER SIMULATION: Participants review their answers from a take home examination. Finally, they practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in disaster activity.
In addition, supplemental training is suggested including a couple of the FEMA Courses discussed above:

Supplemental training conducted, recommended, and/or required for CERT members:

IS-100.a Introduction to Incident Command System (ICS)
IS-700.a National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction
Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Automatic External Defibrillation (AED)
Basic first aid
Additional Incident Command System (ICS)
Additional National Incident Management System (NIMS)
The point of all this training to eliminate confusion by offering up a standardized approach to disaster response. If everyone is using the same playbook, there should be less wasted effort on "re-inventing the wheel."

Essentially, the message is exactly like the motto of the Boy Scouts: "Be Prepared"

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:05 PM

    Just wanted to say I appreciate these disaster prep posts every Wed.