Financial Support for Homeland Security Training
Recently, our staff at Findlay All Hazards has discovered a potential disconnect in the flow of information from some states to their local emergency responder organizations. This may be preventing many from receiving important training from the DHS, FEMA, and others.
A common obstacle to training is a lack of funding and manpower. Even if emergency management training sessions are federally-sponsored or tuition-free, state and municipal agencies often do not take advantage of them. Many times, this is due to the cost of paying the staff person taking the training. And there’s also the need to pay for a replacement to assume the duties of the trainee in their absence (known as ”backfill pay”).
What many agencies don’t realize is that, many times, federal and state funds are available to help cover the overhead costs of training. By involving the relevant State Administrative Agency (SAA) in the scheduling process of DHS-provided courses, a local agency interested in training can possibly receive per diems for trainees as well as backfill pay. A listing of the most current SAAs for each state can be found online.
Another good place to start learning the process is at the FEMA National Training and Education Division site, where a visitor can explore a catalog of training offerings as well as learn about financial support options.
The agencies and universities throughout the country that deliver DHS training courses must follow the disciplined curriculum development process prescribed by DHS to be approved to deliver courses. This insures that only relevant training courses, strong in instructional design and content, are offered. At Findlay, we concentrate on content related to school safety, maritime security, and rail car spill response for a primarily rural audience. Other institutions serve the needs of more urban emergency responders and managers.
Any emergency agency, school system, law enforcement agency, fire department, or waterway and transportation administration can likely find important training they need through DHS offerings. Many of the courses can be brought directly to the local jurisdiction minimizing the need for travel. With the possibility of additional financial support for per diems and backfill pay already in place in many states, there should be few obstacles to prevent the appropriate people from getting the training needed.