How Civilian Online Training and Outreach Can Prepare the Nation for Emergencies
Emergency response training for both professional first responders and the public is critical. Average citizens are often the first to confront emergency situations. While emergency response is a daunting task, training can help prepare anyone for any event. Increased public awareness of free and online Government training courses, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute (EMI) courses, improves public preparation and response to crisis and strengthens the capabilities and effectiveness of professional emergency responders.
FEMA’s EMI provides an Independent Study (IS) program that is free to emergency management personnel and the general public. A well-educated public creates significant positive impacts on our communities. From preparing schools for a variety of incidents to understanding the intricacies of emergency assistance, a public that learns emergency management responds better to disasters, alleviates strain on emergency management professionals, and recovers more quickly.
The challenge is gaining public interest in taking the IS courses. Outreach is key to attract public interest. Similar to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “See Something, Say Something” campaign, outreach can start at the grassroots level with state, local, and Federal emergency managers speaking at schools and businesses in coordination with print advertising. The Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments already perform this outreach to local communities.
Together, training and outreach improve the effectiveness of response efforts and grow relationships between responders, emergency managers, FEMA, and the public.