News and Announcements (March 24, 2014)

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We heard you!

Colleagues,

Each year the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (EVS) assesses the needs of FEMA employees and provides invaluable data for action planning to improve FEMA’s human capital policies and practices. In 2013, there were several recurring themes in the EVS analysis including the importance of investing in our workforce, working smarter, streamlining and simplifying, encouraging and incentivizing national risk reduction and resilience, and the continued need for competent, effective and transparent leadership support.

We heard you.

Learning and development are integral components of work performance, job satisfaction and career advancement. Learning and development is also inherently tied to the Agency’s mission and the Administrator’s Intent.   

Recognizing the importance of investing in our workforce and work teams, the Employee Development Division (EDD), headed by Dr. Cheryl Seminara, is tasked with developing new programs and resources that enable employees to take full ownership of their careers and career paths as well as improve the overall performance of the agency. These programs and resources include: employee development workshops; a leadership development book club; monthly webinars; numerous classroom-based workshops; a full library of online training; a new mentoring program; rotation assignments; higher education programs; and a variety of competitive leadership programs. Additionally, the EDD is introducing  new Individual and Executive Development Plans (IDP and EDP) that will give you and your supervisor the opportunity to assess your learning needs an explore a variety of developmental opportunitie.s

Employees who wish to research and review more career development planning tools should contact Dr. Seminara at Cheryl.seminara@fema.dhs.gov or by phone at (202) 646-3777 or the Employee Development Division mailbox at edu@fema.dhs.gov.  Individuals are always welcome to participate in a scheduled online workshops and training sessions. Sessions are announced on the front page of on.FEMA.net, through the FEMA Weekly Bulletin, and through weekly announcements to all training points of contact and executive officers.

Thank you.
Corey Coleman
Chief Component Human Capital Officer, Mission Support Bureau
 
 

Photos from the 2013 Administrator's Awards Ceremony

On February 27th the 2013 Administrator’s Awards Ceremony took place at FEMA headquarters in the NRCC to recognize employees from all across FEMA who have gone above and beyond their daily work in support of the FEMA mission. To view and/or download photos from the ceremony please click here.

Creation of External Coordination and Liaison Unit

FEMA has an opportunity to better integrate and improve the Agency’s ability to articulate and advocate for strategic resource requirements with both the Executive (DHS and OMB) and Legislative Branches (Appropriations Committees).  To achieve this end, the Office of External Affairs (EA) and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), with FEMA senior leadership support, are partnering to create a new External Coordination and Liaison Unit within OCFO. 

During its initial implementation, this unit will be organized under the Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Tom Lowry, working in close collaboration with Budget Director Evan Farley and the Budget staff, External Affairs, and the FEMA Programs and Offices.  This unit will be able to deliver, proactively and on-demand, timely and fully integrated budget, resource, and appropriations information to our Executive and Legislative Branch stakeholders.  The Appropriations Liaison function is in the process of transferring from the Congressional Affairs Division (CAD) to OCFO to be fully incorporated into this unit, which will create a more integrated agency-wide structure to handle all budget matters. 

To facilitate the transition, we have made several interim staff changes, and other changes are under review.  With OCFO’s big thanks, CAD Deputy Director Pamela Williams will be on temporary detail to OCFO to ensure on-going operations, coordination, and to begin to establish structure and process for the OCFO team that will be assuming the Appropriations Liaison function.  Also, for at least the next six months, Chelsea D’Angona, Special Assistant to the CFO, has graciously accepted an offer to help kick-start and build this new unit given her background and expertise, which includes time working for the Senate Budget Committee and FEMA Budget Planning and Analysis Division.  Finally, the OCFO is nearing selection of a permanent unit chief who should enter on-duty within the next 60 days, and we have other actions under way to align resources (temporarily or permanently) to support the time-sensitive and active work of this new unit, especially given our continual budget seasons. 

As we all know, coordination is key, and these functions will require recurring, frequent interaction and support from the OCFO and EA teams, as well as FEMA programs and offices.  We thank you for your ongoing support as we create a single, centrally-managed unit that is focused full-time on understanding and effectively communicating FEMA's strategic resource needs not only to Congress, but also to our OMB and DHS stakeholders.  We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress towards ensuring the success of this critical function, and also thank all who have been involved previously in efforts to keep these important stakeholders informed.

First FEMA Incident Workforce Academy Class Graduates

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently congratulated the first graduating class of the FEMA Incident Workforce Academy, an emergency preparedness class to ensure FEMA employees are prepared in the event of a national emergency.

“Every FEMA employee is an emergency manager who may be called upon to deploy in response to a disaster,” Chief of the Mission Support Branch Melissa Weida Ventresca said. “We want to make sure every employee is trained and ready for those responsibilities.”

FIWA is a two-week training initiative for all FEMA employees to prepare them for possible deployment. Forty five FEMA employees graduated from the class last week, including full-time FEMA employees, reservists and Cadre of On-Call Response-Recovery employees.

“The intent is to ensure that no matter what role you play in FEMA’s mission, you are trained and ready to deploy,” Ventresca said. “This course makes sure everyone is receiving the same training. It’s also a great networking opportunity. FEMA employees who serve in different capacities across the country get to meet and learn from each other.”

FIWA was created through a joint effort between the Emergency Management Institute, the Incident Workforce Management Division and the Center for Domestic Preparedness. Nine additional FIWA courses are scheduled throughout 2014 and will be held at the CDP.

Message from Kate Raftery, Director, AmeriCorps NCCC
Corporation for National and Community Service

View in FEMA Multimedia Library

In times of disaster, citizens count on national service. Members of FEMA Corps -- a partnership between CNCS and FEMA -- have responded to disasters in 29 states since 2012.

As director of AmeriCorps NCCC, I have had the privilege of meeting hundreds of FEMA Corps members.  I have met members on the beaches of New Jersey and New York in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I have traveled to Colorado and seen members assisting flood survivors.

Everywhere I go, I am deeply impressed with the members I meet; they're all doing important, life-changing work. They tell me how joining FEMA Corps has provided them with leadership training, helped them build career skills, allowed them to travel to places they never dreamed about, and work with a team of dedicated professionals.

We created a new video to give you a glimpse of what it's like to serve in FEMA Corps.

Please watch and share with your friends and family! We hope the video will inspire more young Americans to join FEMA Corps -- and make a real difference when it matters most.

Southwestern College Continues TERT in Paramedic Program

By Shannon Arledge, CDP External Affairs

Anniston, Ala., March 1, 2014 -- Technical Emergency Response Training (TERT) students perform a final exercise in Northville, a fictional town at the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological (COBRA) Facility. During the exercise, students work with and identify biological materials Ricin and Anthrax and also nerve agents GB and VX.Anniston, Ala., March 1, 2014 -- Technical Emergency Response Training (TERT) students perform a final exercise in Northville, a fictional town at the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological (COBRA) Facility. During the exercise, students work with and identify biological materials Ricin and Anthrax and also nerve agents GB and VX. Download Original

Anniston, Ala., March 1, 2014 -- Technical Emergency Response Training (TERT) students perform a final exercise in Northville, a fictional town at the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological (COBRA) Facility. During the exercise, students work with and identify biological materials Ricin and Anthrax and also nerve agents GB and VX.Anniston, Ala., March 1, 2014 -- Technical Emergency Response Training (TERT) students perform a final exercise in Northville, a fictional town at the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological (COBRA) Facility. During the exercise, students work with and identify biological materials Ricin and Anthrax and also nerve agents GB and VX.Download Original

Classrooms, textbooks, presentations and computers are possibly a student’s most common expectation of a typical learning environment.  Recently, 24 students, from Southwestern College in San Diego, traded in their pens and notebooks for breathing apparatuses, bulky gloves, rubber boots and protective suits. These students are enrolled in the college’s paramedic program and attended training at FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), in Anniston, Ala.

“This training provides our students a well-rounded exposure to current threats and better prepares us,” says Loretta Contreras, an instructor with the college and a paramedic for the past 30 years. “The [Technical Emergency Response Training for CBRNE Incidents] course explains what we should be alert to and topics we don’t think about on a day-to-day basis.”

TERT is the Technical Emergency Response Training for CBRNE Incidents (TERT) course. TERT is unique because it’s multi-disciplinary and combines a variety of response disciplines such as healthcare, law enforcement and fire service. This course is part of a handful of CDP classes that allow emergency responders to train in a nerve-agent and biological-material environment.

Anniston, Ala., March 1, 2014 -- Technical Emergency Response Training (TERT) students perform a final exercise in Northville, a fictional town at the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological (COBRA) Facility. They encounter a realistic scenario and are tasked to execute the procedures learned throughout the week including principles of Mass Casualty Response, Scene Survey and Safety, Sampling and Monitoring, and Decontamination.Anniston, Ala., March 1, 2014 -- Technical Emergency Response Training (TERT) students perform a final exercise in Northville, a fictional town at the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological (COBRA) Facility. They encounter a realistic scenario and are tasked to execute the procedures learned throughout the week including principles of Mass Casualty Response, Scene Survey and Safety, Sampling and Monitoring, and Decontamination.Download Original

Anniston, Ala., March 1, 2014 -- Technical Emergency Response Training (TERT) students perform a final exercise in Northville, a fictional town at the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological (COBRA) Facility. During the exercise, students work with and identify biological materials Ricin and Anthrax and also nerve agents GB and VX.Anniston, Ala., March 1, 2014 -- Technical Emergency Response Training (TERT) students perform a final exercise in Northville, a fictional town at the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological (COBRA) Facility. During the exercise, students work with and identify biological materials Ricin and Anthrax and also nerve agents GB and VX.Download Original

“Anyone who says the U.S. isn’t preparing or training to respond to a biological or chemical event, I’d say is wrong,” said Brad Whitman, a student in the paramedic program. “I’ve taken a lot of classes before this; and, this course is real training and experience. The TERT training has many different components that prepare us. We have the classroom, interactive portions of training and then we have the practical [exercise] at the end of the week. So, we get the full aspect of how to handle these hazardous situations involving chemicals or biological material. If any of this were to happen in a real-life situation, we have the training and everything to be prepared.”

TERT training offers a unique opportunity to train at the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological (COBRA) Training Facility. The COBRA makes it possible for emergency responders to practice a hands-on response with toxic agents. In addition to the nerve agents used in CDP training since 1998, the CDP incorporated biological materials, Anthrax and Ricin, at the COBRA for the first time in February 2012.

“Part of paramedic school is constant change,” said Whitman. “Technology and instructional methods are always changing from subject to subject. This was a change that will make us better as paramedics and better students. It makes us more prepared and provides the confidence to really respond to these types of incidents.”

Anniston, Ala., March 1, 2014 -- Technical Emergency Response Training (TERT) students perform a final exercise in Northville, a fictional town at the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological (COBRA) Facility. They encounter a realistic scenario and are tasked to execute the procedures learned throughout the week including principles of Mass Casualty Response, Scene Survey and Safety, Sampling and Monitoring, and Decontamination.Anniston, Ala., March 1, 2014 -- Technical Emergency Response Training (TERT) students perform a final exercise in Northville, a fictional town at the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological (COBRA) Facility. They encounter a realistic scenario and are tasked to execute the procedures learned throughout the week including principles of Mass Casualty Response, Scene Survey and Safety, Sampling and Monitoring, and Decontamination.Download Original

For the past six years Southwestern has included CDP training in its paramedic program and the school has graduated approximately 175 paramedics who have completed the TERT course. According to Devin Price, paramedic program director for Southwestern College, CDP training is the students’ first introduction to mass-casualty response involving hazardous materials and other threatening incidents.

“CDP training is the primary introduction into Weapons of Mass Destruction and [Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive] events,” said Price. “This is the first time all of them have operated in a toxic environment and many of them have never had a chance to use the equipment. Incorporating the CDP into our program creates a better paramedic, ready to respond and save lives. Feedback received says CDP training produces a better paramedic with a higher awareness level and experience.”

To learn more about the Center for Domestic Preparedness, visit http://cdp.dhs.gov or call 866-213-9553. Visit the CDP on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cdpfema and follow the center on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cdpfema.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated: 
03/31/2014 - 13:41
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