Thursday, May 15, 2014

FEMA Credentialling

Disaster response has evolved over time due to key events which were "Disasters with-in the disaster".  In the 80's donations management was a lesson learned.  California wild fires taught the need for the Incident Command System, Katrina was the need for NIMS style multi-agency coordination.  The Gulf Oil spill taught us the need to understand the ICS-201 paperwork system.  Disasters are not baseball games, 3-strikes and you are not out.  You pick your self back up and try again until you find something that works.

So we get to NIMS and the need for credentialing volunteers.  In the past volunteer agencies were a tough breed to categorize, incident command had to use their own experiences and had to have a dialog with the volunteer resources in order to understand what they were getting when they requested a volunteer organization to mobilize.  NIMS Resource classification and credentialing is setting a basic standard for resources used in a emergency event.  A NIMS resource is categorized at 1 for the most capable or highest capacity to 5 for the lowest capability or lowest capacity.  CERT is all about providing basic emergency support for the most people because training for a CERT member is very broad and does not go into extensive detail into any one topic.  So how to you categorize a CERT member?  Do we create a new category or do we add CERT to an existing category?  In Olathe, CERT's primary role is listed as Light search and rescue and secondarily to aid Sheltering operations.

Most requirements are either field specific certifications (using such as credentialing Search and rescue by ASTM or NASAR certifications or medical credentialing by ECSI, American Red Cross  or American heart association certifications).  FEMA's Emergency Management Institute has ICS and NIMS classes which can be identified by a prefix (IS - for independant study or ICS - incident command system, GOV - government ...etc)  Most FEMA training requirements are "IS" or independent study.

  • A base level of personnel based resource includes a requirement for FEMA IS-100 and IS-700.  They also may include a requirement for hazardous materials (OSHA safety requirements and then the base core capability of the resource (ex. CERT training, EMR, SARTECH III ...etc).
  • Mid tier resources need safety PPE training and Hazardous-materials basic training and IS-200 and IS-800.  They may or may not also need the next level up in the core capability training such as EMT, SARTECH II ...etc
  • Top tier resources need IS-300 and IS-400. They may also need an advanced level training for their discipline (Paramedic, Dr, SARTECH I, ...etc) Top tier may also need specific briefing in their ESF function . (ESF2 for communications, ESF8 for SAR) (CERT is trained as Light SAR).
  • Leadership positions may have different requirements.  A SAR team leader or task-force leader may not need any more advanced SAR training but will need leadership training.
  • Professional Resources will have OSHA safety training requirements which are impossible to get outside of a official classroom environment (no independent study).  
Not all volunteer types unfortunately have a FEMA NIMS job title.  Radio operators, CERT members, and Weather spotters are not listed as official job titles.  Individual states and regions may develop their own standards for credentialing and so getting credentialed may be troublesome in that the standards have not solidified yet.

So a CERT volunteer resource needs to have:

  • FEMA Compliant CERT training class.
  • Background check of the individual volunteer
  • Official backing of a local emergency response agency (Police, Fire, Park service).
  • FEMA EMI - IS-100 Introduction to the Incident Command System
  • FEMA EMI - IS-700 Introduction to the National Incident Management System
If we compare this to a professional responders requirements we will need:

  • OSHA CFR Training for HAZMAT, Respiratory Protection and Fire safety ...etc
  • First aid certification
  • Minimum physical fitness standards
  • Medical fitness requirements
  • Certification renewal
Though professional certification for first aid and OSHA approved safety training is very expensive and in many ways opens CERT members up to liabilities that they wouldn't have otherwise.  So the CERT class and FEMA Independent study training certifications are really ideal for a CERT member.


Of course you could go all out and stack on all the certifications in which you would need something like:

Local Deployment (Level 5)

  • Completion of CERT Academy (20+ Hour FEMA Approved CERT training with hands on exercises and Olathe CERT disaster deployment protocols.)
  • Successful background check
  • Yearly Re-certification:
  • Yearly completion of 1 CERT academy class session (or Completion of FEMA IS-317 Introduction to CERT)
  • Update your contact information with CERT

FEMA Deployment Partner (State, National) (Level 4)
Completion of all previous level requirements plus completion of :
  • FEMA IS-100 (ICS)
  • FEMA IS-700 (NIMS)

FEMA Deployment Partner (State, National) (Level 3)
Completion of all previous level requirements plus completion of:
  • IS-101 (ICS Deployment Basics) (and/or IS-102)
  • IS-200 (Basic ICS for small incidents)
  • IS-201 (ICS Forms and planning)
  • IS-800 (National Response Framework)
  • CERT Tools for Leadership Success course or Equivalent Leadership training.
  • Recommended:
  • IS-120.a An Introduction to Exercises
  • Basic Moulage for exercises and training
FEMA Deployment Partner (State, National) (Level 2)
Completion of all previous level requirements plus completion of:
  • IS-1 Emergency Manager, An Orientation to the Position
  • IS-120.a An Introduction to Exercises
  • IS-130 Exercise Evaluation and Improvement Planning
  • IS-139 Exercise Design
  • IS-244.a Developing and Managing Volunteers
  • IS-288 The Role of Voluntary Agencies
  • IS-775 (EOC intro)
  • IS-806 (Emergency Support Function (ESF) #6 – Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services)
  • IS-809 (Emergency Support Function (ESF) #9 - Search and Rescue)

FEMA Deployment Partner (State, National) (Level 1)
Completion of previous levels and:
  • Completion of FEMA Professional Development Series
  • ICS-300 - ICS for intermediate incidents (Physical class)

Supplemental training (Recommended for any level):
  • IS-315: CERT Supplemental Training: The Incident Command System
  • IS-317: Introduction to CERT
  • CERT Animal Response Module I
  • CERT Animal Response Module II
  • CERT Emergency Communications Module
  • CERT Tools for Leadership Success Module
  • CERT Traffic and Crowd Management Module
  • Flood Response for CERTs
  • CERT Firefighter Rehab
  • CERT Exercise Swaps


FEMA Credentialing resources:

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