This will include a brief statement (one short paragraph will usually suffice) where you will reflect on that 4 FEMA courses learning and describe how the key concepts will be of value to you in your training/career.
Use this week to complete the four IS courses. Much of your progress this semester depends on a thorough knowledge of this material.
There are no DB questions this week, but you must write a brief I&R regarding the FEMA IS courses you took.
FEMA – IS 120c Introduction to Exercises (pre-req for IS 130) available at https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=is-120.c (Links to an external site.)
FEMA – IS 139a Exercise Design and Development– This document contains much of the reading material for 639. https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-139.a (Links to an external site.)
FEMA-IS-2200 Basic Emergency Operations Center Functions
FEMA – IS 130 How to be an Exercise Evaluator available at
One of the takeaways I had from the FEMA IS courses was the importance of the exercise planning director keeping the participants engaged with the purpose of the exercise. This is important because it is possible that one or few of the participants may get distracted or focused on another aspect of the exercise, thus preventing the purpose of the exercise to be met. For example, when I was interning with the Office of Emergency Management in Philadelphia, the lead exercise and drill coordinator of the office said one of the toughest parts of his job was, ‘keeping the participants engaged with what actually needs to be tested”. This challenged proved tough when I assisted him in a drill to test the operations of the EOC. The purpose was to test the participants ability and knowledge of running a fully activated EOC by using a mass casualty incident. The participants got too distracted with actually trying to respond to this mass casualty scenario, that they did not meet the objectives of the exercise.
Another classmate’s example to get a clear picture!
After doing the four required FEMA IS courses, I believe these courses will not only help us with the summer courses and the rest of the program but also throughout our journey while working in the EMS field. These courses teach the concepts directly involved with exercise design, the process of performing the exercise.Starting with FEMA IS-120. C that teaches basic exercises knowledge and different types of exercises such as discussion-based and operations based, and the importance to involve the whole community to participate It also provides valuable information about the National Preparedness Guidelines (NPG) and the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP), which sets out guiding principles and a common approach to exercises. Secondly, FEMA IS-130. A, which focused more on the evaluator’s role and responsibilities and how to conduct an evaluation exercise effectively. Since we are going to evaluate one another in the campus week, this course teaches exercise evaluator’s roles and responsibilities and also characteristics and tools for a successful evaluation. After that, FEMA IS-39 A, this course is very informative than IS 120 on focusing on the design and development of exercises. I learned from this course the components of exercises, MSEL development, and how to use the SMART method. Lastly, FEMA is 2200, which covers Emergency Operations Center management and operations and how to connect that to the National Incident Management System (NIMS). It describes the role of EOCs in overall coordination between several agencies. In the end, these courses are very useful, and I’m sure we will refer to each one of them when we start building our exercise.
Another example of a friend!!
After completing the four required FEMA courses IS120, IS130, IS139, and IS2200, it became clear all of them are reflecting what calls the exercise cycle. The exercise cycle is a common planning methodology provided by The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) for all types of exercises. It includes improvement and planning, design and development, conduct exercise, and evolution of the exercise. Although I’ve got the courses’ certificates, the courses have a large amount of important information that requires constant review to understand what we are going to do throughout the semester.
Briefly, I will mention some takeaways from each course. FEMA IS120 discusses an important topic that shows the importance of exercise. Conducting exercises can help to clarify the roles and responsibilities for different parties, improve the work between the different parties, detect and fill the resources gaps, improve individual performance and find the areas that need improvement. Consequently, the response to a real disaster will be much organized and effective. FEMA IS139 focuses on building exercises. The exercise planning team is responsible for designing the exercises. The complexity of exercises can be low (e.g., seminars), medium (e.g., drills), or high (e.g., full-scale exercise). Each one of them has its definition and requirements. FEMA IS130 explains the role of exercise evaluators. The evaluator is the person who must observe and record all exercise activates, strengths, and weaknesses in order to improve them. Also, the evaluator must have experience in his assigned functional area. Having a good evaluator can facilitate data collection and analysis for exercise improvement. Finally, FEMA IS2200 explains the manning of the Emergency Operations Centers EOCs. For supporting on-scene operations in big-scale events, EOC is established to facilitate coordination of information and resources between different jurisdictions.