By Daryl Lee Spiewak, CEM, TEM, MEP, Lead Trainer for the CEM Commission, and Chair, IAEM-Global Communications Work Group
Last month our discussion on resubmissions focused on the first three of nine knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). This month I will continue our discussion on common errors with the emergency management essay by focusing on the second three of nine KSAs.
Previously we learned the first three KSAs were:
The second three KSA’s I will discuss in more detail here are:
By definition, Preparedness is the “activities undertaken to avoid or stop an incident from occurring.” Commissioners want to see what preparedness activities were or will be used to solve your problem. A few preparedness activities you may wish to consider including in your discussion are: program development and administration, program finance administration, program records management, planning process and plans, incident management system and procedures, warning communications systems and procedures, notifications process and procedures, EOCs, resources and resource management, training and education, exercises, program maintenance, and continuous improvement.
You do not need to include all preparedness activities while solving your problem, but be sure to include enough of them that the Commissioners can see that you know what preparedness entails. Should preparedness activities not apply to solving your problem, you should explain why they don’t. If preparedness activities are not addressed, you will earn zero (0) points for that KSA!
By definition, Response is the “immediate and ongoing activities, tasks, programs, and systems to manage the effects of an incident that threatens life, property, operations, or the environment.” Commissioners want to see what response activities were or will be used to solve your problem. A few response activities include, but are not limited to: protective actions for life safety, EOC operations, EOC/ICS Interface, conducting damage assessments, initiating recovery strategies, and any other measures necessary to bring an entity to a more stable status.
Candidates often confuse using the term response in their discussion meets the requirement of this KSA. They will write about organizing, developing, equipping, training, and exercising various types of response teams. These are preparedness activities and not response activities by definition. Don’t confuse them.
Commissioners know that not all problems may contain a response component. That is OK. Just be sure to explain why response does not apply to solving your problem, so the Commissioners can see that you know what response entails and why the associated activities do not apply to solving your problem. If response activities are not addressed, you will earn zero (0) points for that KSA! Demonstrated knowledge of the Recovery phase of disaster/ emergency management and activities. By definition, Recovery is the “activities and programs designed to return conditions to a level that is acceptable to the entity.” That level is addressed as the “new normal,” according to FEMA, and is different for each entity and each recovery operation.
For this KSA, Commissioners want to see what recovery activities were or will be used to solve your problem. Recovery activities include, but are not limited to: those that are designed to assist victims and their families, restore entities to suitable economic growth and confidence, relocate or rebuild destroyed property, and reconstitute government (or organizational) operations and services. Recovery operations and activities may be short-term, long-term, or both. Most often they consist of both. Recall that short-term recovery activities are implemented during the response phase immediately following life safety activities.
Long-term recovery activities follow after the response is completed and may last for many years after the incident has ended. Another key point to remember about recovery activities is that prevention and mitigation activities need to be included as a key component. Doing so helps to make the entity more resilient and better able to withstand the negative effects of hazards and future incidents.
As with the previous mission areas, recovery activities may not apply to solving your identified problem. If they do not apply, be sure to explain why recovery activities do not apply to solving the problem, so the Commissioners can see that you know what recovery entails and why the associated activities do not apply to solving your problem. If mitigation activities are not addressed, you will earn zero (0) points for this KSA!
The most common error Commissioners encounter with these second three KSA’s are:
Another error is that candidates will discuss the mission areas in relation to the FEMA National Frameworks documents, rather than specific activities necessary to solve the identified problem. Discussing the Frameworks is related to Laws and Authorities, which is another KSA we will discuss next month, and not the associated mission area. Don’t confuse the two.
Remember, “Paying attention to detail, as found in the essay instructions and scenario, will go a long way towards writing a successful essay the first time.” While addressing all nine KSAs is not necessary, failing to substantially address one or more KSAs will result in receiving less than the minimum score of 18 out of a possible 24 points and a resubmission letter, or worse, a rejection letter.
Next month I will describe continuing errors the Commissioners encounter in the emergency management essay, with a focus on the last three KSAs. As usual, please send any questions you have about the examination or the certification process to me at email@example.com, and I will address them in future articles.
IAEM Bulletin, February 2019
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