September is National Preparedness Month: Continuing Education and Professional Development

September is recognized as National Preparedness Month, which serves as a reminder that we all have a role in preparing, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and also where we travel.

With the exception of deploying as part of an Incident Management Team on a routine basis, it can be difficult to maintain currency or proficiency after completing ICS position training. Furthermore, there is not a well-established incident management continuing education program for incident management professionals. Continuing in our goal to improve response capabilities, the EMSI Incident Management Continuing Education and Professional Development (CEPD) Program presents a solution to this challenge.

The EMSI Incident Management Continuing Education and Professional Development Program is an advanced training program designed for incident management professionals who have previously completed ICS position training and are looking to either maintain proficiency or continue to expand their incident response skills. The program offers advanced and specialized workshops to further develop and enhance individual incident management skills. The workshops cover a wide range of topics and can be tailored and customized as required.

Below is a listing of just some of the potential offerings through this program.

High Reliability Organizations: Applying these Principles to an IMT

Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe wrote about the principles of High Reliability Organizations (HROs) in their book, Managing the Unexpected. This workshop explores HRO characteristics such as preoccupation with failure, reluctance to simplify, sensitivity to operations, commitment to resilience, and deference to expertise, and how these characteristics can be applied to an Incident Management Team to foster a mindful culture and infrastructure that fosters effective incident management.

Garbage In, Garbage Out: Getting the Most Out of the IAP Planning Process

Too many Incident Management Teams rush through the Incident Action Planning process without providing quality inputs, resulting in a weak or ineffective Incident Action Plan (IAP). This workshop focuses on enhancing and improving the value of the IAP by creating meaningful inputs. Workshop topics include:

• Assessing the need for transitioning from the ICS-201 to an IAP;
• Identifying the resources required to develop an IAP;
• Command Direction required to initiate the IAP planning process including objectives, priorities, limitations/ constraints, and overall intent;
• Drafting meaningful incident objectives;
• Responding to Command Direction by identifying strategies and tactics using a Work Analysis Matrix (ICS- 234);
• Building the Operations Section organization from the bottom-up;
• Safety considerations and inputs;
• Logistics considerations and inputs;
• Creating meaningful work assignments for the Assignment Lists (ICS-204s);
• Briefing the IAP; and
• Assessing IAP effectiveness.

Talking Points: Preparing the Incident Command and PIO to Face the Media

Public Information Officers play an important role in developing talking points and shaping the message from the incident, but oftentimes, it is the Incident Commander who ends up on camera delivering the message. This workshop is intended for Incident Commanders and Public Information Officers, with a focus on preparing and delivering effective public information. Specifically, this workshop explores how to assess incident information, create talking points, and effectively deliver the message on camera. With a considerable portion of this workshop dedicated to on-camera time, participants can practice in front of the camera and bright lights, then review and critique their performances.

Incident Potential & Complexity

Incident assessment and complexity analysis is a critical component to successful incident management. It includes incident size-up and assessment, recognizing incident potential, and evaluating incident complexity factors. It allows the Incident Commander to adequately prepare the IMT for the potential challenges that may complicate the management of the incident. This workshop introduces participants to the incident complexity analysis process and familiarizes them with how to recognize and respond to complex incident management factors.

Effective Use of Social Media by an IMT

Social media can be your friend or foe when managing an incident. This workshop explores how to effectively use social media not only for public information and stakeholder coordination purposes, but for Operations and Situation purposes as well. Additionally, this workshop examines various ways to integrate social media into an incident management organization.

Process & Meeting Facilitation: Keeping Your Team on Track

The Planning Section Chief plays a critical role in guiding the Incident Management Team (IMT) through the Incident Action Planning process. This workshop explores effective ways to manage and facilitate the Incident Action Planning process including establishing the meeting schedule, creating meaningful inputs to the process, meeting facilitation techniques, team building, and internal IMT coordination.

Developing & Communicating Command Direction
One of the most important functions of Command is developing and communicating Command Direction. This workshop focuses on the essential elements of Command Direction required to facilitate effective incident management and successfully communicating this direction to subordinates. It covers how to effectively articulate and communicate this direction, as well as evaluate the effectiveness of Command Direction. In addition, it covers concepts such as:

• Size-up and assessment;
• Command/leader’s intent;
• Decision-making;
• Priorities;
• Incident objectives;
• Potential limitations and constraints;
• Staff assignment; and
• Incident specific operating procedures.

In addition to these workshops under EMSI’s Incident Management Continuing Education and Professional Development Program, we offer more traditional Incident Command System (ICS) training, such as position specific and team oriented courses. Visit our website at to learn more about how EMSI can help your organization be prepared.