Wednesday, March 10, 2010

FEMA training

Following its actions during Hurricane Katrina and other recent incidents, the US government's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) doesn't have the most sterling reputation. In fact you may be wondering why I'm even mentioning them here.

Not to be an apologist, but part of FEMA's problem is post-9/11 the agency was pushed outside of its core areas of expertise. FEMA is an administrative, bean-counting, check writing agency - and isn't half bad doing this job. FEMA is not a response agency and has failed miserably just about any time its been put in that role. But hey, that's politics, right?

One of the administrative tasks FEMA does very well is to provide training to emergency managers and response personnel. In addition to instructor-led classes the agency also has an extensive independent study program offering a variety of online courses.

A number of these courses are very applicable to humanitarian organizations and safety and security practitioners and I'd encourage you to visit the Web site to check them out.

In the next post I'll be discussing something called the Incident Command System (ICS) - which FEMA offers several courses on. In my experience I've found some NGOs don't really have an effective management structure in place to handle large-scale or complex incidents. In such cases I often recommend adopting ICS or something based on it. More on this later, or check out the IS-100 course to get a head start on the next blog entry.