Sample Certificate Exam Questions – Training & Education

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By Daryl Lee Spiewak, CEM, TEM, MEP, Lead Trainer for the CEM Commission, and Chair, IAEM-Global Communications Work Group

Last month we completed our discussion of Implementation with a focus on Employee Assistance and Support. This month we begin a new discussion with the topic of Training and Education.

Training and Education Standard

The Training and Education standard relates directly to an entity’s emergency management program. It applies to internal staff as well as the public. Internal staff is trained “in the entity’s incident management system (IMS) and other components of the program to the level of their involvement,” while the public is educated on “the potential impact of a hazard, preparedness information, and information needed to develop a preparedness plan.”

Also required by the standard is training and education on all “applicable regulatory and program requirements” (NFPA 1600, Chapter 7). These will be different for entities in different U.S. states and also different in different countries around the world.

Finally, the standard requires your training and education program be “competency-based.” This means your training and education program is designed to improve job performance that can be measured against accepted standards rather than simply taking a variety of courses. NFPA 1600 defines it this way:

“Competency-based education and training programs focus on the specific knowledge elements, skills, and/or abilities that are objective, that is, measurable or demonstrable, on the job. Education is usually focused on unknown risk exposures. Training is instruction that imparts and/or maintains the skills necessary for individuals and teams to perform their assigned system responsibilities and is usually focused on known risk exposures. The learning objectives of training should be competency-based and the criteria related to the relevant competencies. Competency is based on demonstrated performance to achieve designated goals.”

According to IS-0230.d Fundamentals of Emergency Management, training is one important component of preparedness, sometimes referred to as pre-incident activities, and is one of the roles of the emergency manager. Since preparedness is a continuous process “involving efforts at all levels of government and between government and private-sector and nongovernmental organizations” as well as the public (Whole Community), your training and education program needs to be continuous too.

Examination References

As for the previous standards, this one too does not describe how to do all of this, so for the exam we refer back to various FEMA Independent Study Courses. FEMA does not have an independent study course specifically addressing Training and Education. FEMA and other sources do provide training on how to conduct training and how to speak in public. While not used as source material for the exam, these courses do provide excellent preparation for you to develop and conduct your own training and education program. For the exam, therefore, we need to review independent study courses related to the activities that make up preparedness and communication, such as IS-230d Fundamentals of Emergency Management, IS-242b Effective Communication, and IS-910a Emergency Management Preparedness Fundamentals, as well as A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management: Principles, Themes, and Pathways for Action (FDOC 104-008-1/December 2011).


The application process for both the CEM® and the AEM® does not require the candidate to address Training and Education specifically as one of the required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) components for the emergency management essay. However, it does require discussion of Preparedness, Response, Recovery, and Mitigation activities. In addition, candidates may choose Education and Training as a key component of their Problem Statement and write about that (covering all the KSAs).

Practice Questions

Here are two core-type questions for our analysis:

1. The local emergency manager has the responsibility for coordinating emergency management programs and activities. Under which one of the following does the emergency manager develop and carry out public awareness and education programs?

a. Conducting all hazards threat/hazard and risk assessments (THIRA).
b. Coordinating a review of all local emergency- and disaster-related authorities.
c. Facilitating the emergency planning process.
d. Managing resources before, during, and after a major emergency or disaster.

This question is asking you first to understand the role of the emergency manager and where public awareness and education programs fit in. Then you are asked to choose the correct response among the four possible responses. The first response says while conducting a THIRA. We know we need to educate the public on the results of the THIRA, but we don’t educate them during the THIRA or on how to conduct a THIRA. Therefore, this response is incorrect.

The second response of coordinating a review of all local emergency- and disaster-related authorities is not a part of public awareness or education, even though the results could be used for public awareness or education. Therefore, this response is not correct either.

The third response of facilitating the emergency planning process is used to develop the emergency plan; therefore, it is also incorrect.
The fourth response of managing resources before, during, and after a major emergency or disaster is the correct one because the public is a resource and one method emergency managers use to manage them is through the public awareness and education program.

Recall that the public is made aware of and educated on threats and hazards, protection and mitigation activities, and response and recovery activities. The more the public can do for themselves, the less you have to provide for them and can use scarce resources for other tasks. Therefore, the correct response is d. See IS 230.d.

2. In emergency management, communication responsibilities are typically quite varied. One responsibility is educating the community on emergency preparedness. Which of the following activities would you include in the community education program?

a. Engage the community in dialogues about disaster recovery options.
b. Inform the community about emergency plans, issues, and events.
c. Issue alerts and warnings to the community.
d. Train the community on the entity’s communications systems.

In this question, we are asking you to know what activities fall under preparedness and relate them to the needs of the community. It also asks you to understand the difference between training and education.

The first response of engaging the community in dialogues about disaster recovery options is normally performed during the long-term recovery process rather than as part of your preparedness activities because recovery options are more relevant and meaningful after a disaster occurs. Therefore, this first response is incorrect.

The second response of informing the community about emergency plans, issues, and events is something we would educate the community on as part of our preparedness activities. The more they know about the entity’s plans, issues, and potential threats and hazards, the better they will be prepared to respond before, during, and after an emergency or disaster event. Therefore, this response seems to be correct choice, but let’s check the remaining possibilities.

The third response of issuing alerts and warnings to the community is a response (awareness and/or warning) activity and not a preparedness education-type activity. So this response is incorrect too.

The last response of training the community on the entity’s communications systems is not an education activity. In addition, unless community members will actually operate the entity’s communication system, they should be trained on it; the entity’s applicable responders should be trained on it. Therefore, our correct response is b. See IS 242.b.

When reading the questions and responses, be sure you understand exactly what the question is asking of you and read each response before selecting the correct one.

In the Next CEM Corner

This completes our discussion on the topic of Training and Education. Next month we begin our discussion on Exercises and Tests. We also will analyze some practice exam questions. As usual, please send any questions you have about the examination or the certification process to me at info@iaem.com, and I will address them in future articles.

IAEM Bulletin, March 2017

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