Emergency Management Academy

Introduction to Community Preparedness

Disasters don’t just suddenly appear. A threat or hazard exists, but it takes some event or accident to turn the hazard into a disaster. Because of this, one of the basic principles of emergency management is that we can do something useful both before, during, and after a hazard impacts a community. History has shown that when a jurisdiction has identified and assessed its threats and hazards, developed plans and procedures to deal with those events, and then trained and exercised responders and decision-makers, the jurisdiction is more likely to save lives and property and recover more quickly following the occurrence of a major emergency or disaster.

The Emergency Management Academy is designed to provide knowledge, skills, and abilities to those who are charged with the responsibility for preparing the jurisdiction to deal with a future disaster.

The Emergency Management Academy provides participants with an in-depth understanding of the process of developing or enhancing a local emergency management system, including the development of a local Emergency Operations Plan and supporting systems needed to prepare the community to deal with a variety of threats / hazards; training responders, decision-makers, as well as community residents; and then conducting a series of increased complexity exercises that validate the jurisdiction’s level of preparedness.

The Academy contains an initial awareness workshop, followed by five interrelated modules, consisting of classroom instruction and laboratory exercises. Classes will meet one-day every Thursday. Throughout the course, students will participate in 26 individual and group exercises, completing 29 data development and analysis worksheets and planning templates.

A foundational theme of building a whole-community team that will assist in the assessment, planning, training, exercising, evaluation and continuous improvement process will be stressed throughout the program, to strengthen community engagement, buy-in, and resiliency. The course blends new theories with time tested methodologies to develop strong community-wide capability and support.

  • Each course will include lecture and computer lab time. Detailed course descriptions below.
  • Students will work in cohorts on exercises from each segment. The exercises will be asynchronous (self-paced) or group exercises.

Lectures and labs meet

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This module assists community and organizational emergency planners understand the legal regulations and national standards that provide guidance to, and restricts emergency preparedness, response and recovery operations. The course emphasizes building a whole community team that partners with planners in the development of emergency plans and procedures, as well as the training and exercise activities that validate those plans.

Assisting community and organizational emergency planners better understand their community and its threats, as well as providing a methodology for determining hazards with the greatest risk is the initial focus of this module. The module then provides tools to assist planners conduct a vulnerability and risk assessment, and use the results of that assessment in the development of long-term strategic capability building goals, and components of the community’s emergency operations plan.

Assisting local officials and community leaders understand the concepts of managing a major emergency or disaster, and the resources and support available from mutual aid and private organizations, the state and federal governments are the focus of this module. The importance of developing disaster centric public policy that guides preparation for, response to, and recovery from a disaster is also highlighted. The program also provides an overview of the process of planning for recovery, designed to build community resilience and the capability to recover from a major emergency or disaster event.

This module will introduce planners to federal and state guidelines describing the content of local emergency plans and procedures, as well as the active involvement of whole community partners in the planning effort. Differing types and formats for the development of the basic plan, annexes, and appendices will be discussed and students will participate in an individual activity related to the development of a segment of a local plan. Built on the results of previous individual and group work, activities will immerse participants in developing cross-cutting elements of the plan designed to mitigate identified hazards that impact multiple departments and agencies as well as whole community partners. The module will also introduce planners to the concept of Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning, designed to ensure sustainable emergency operations in the event the community’s command and control systems and staff are impacted by a disaster.

During this module participants will be exposed to the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP), which defines a series of stair- stepped, increased complexity exercises designed to train responders and decision-makers, while also validating emergency plans or procedures. A six step process of exercise design will be described, and students will participate in both individual and group activities to determine the need for an exercise; define goals, objectives and target capabilities to be tested; identify the hazard or threat that will drive the exercise scenario; identify departments and organizations that will participate; determine the exercise type and finally develop a schedule for the exercise and its related ramp-up activities. 

A second part of the module will focus on the evaluation and improvement planning activities that assist community planners in validating the emergency plan or procedure, and then building an improvement plan and schedule for correcting the short-falls discovered as part of the exercise.

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To register call (630) 942-2208 for EMA course code HSTI-0015-310 or email HSTI@cod.edu for more details.