Yamhill County — Newly established academy in Emmitsburg, Md., designed as entry-point training for the basics of emergency management

Newberg resident Sue Lamb, who has served as assistant emergency manager for Yamhill County since July 2012, recently completed an academy training course hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).by: SUBMITTED - Pomp and circumstance - Susan Lamb is congratulated by Tony Russell, superintendent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Management Institute, after graduating from the institute in July.

Held at FEMA’s Emer­gency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Md., the so-called “Foundational Aca­demy” course was intended to provide “the basic knowledge and skills to help meet the unpredictable challenges in the field of emergency management,” according to a press re­lease from the federal agency. The institute is part of the campus of FEMA’s Na­tional Emer­gency Train­ing Center, also located in Maryland.

Lamb explained that the academy is a relatively new endeavor.

“Police officers and firefighters have always had academies they go to as part of their basic training, so within the last two years, FEMA decided to do something similar as a way to professionalize emergency management,” she said.

As a former city councilor in Tualatin and current chairwoman of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s civil service commission, emergency management has long been one facet of Lamb’s many responsibilities, but she said she decided back in 2010 that she wanted to make it her career focus.

She began applying for the academy around when it first began, and was ultimately accepted the summer of 2012, which is when she had her first two-week stint in Maryland. She completed the training this summer with another two-week stay.

Lamb’s instruction covered five courses — Foundations of Emergency Management, Science of Disaster, Planning: Emer­gency Operations, Exercise Design, and Public Infor­mation and Warning — and she was required to fulfill a total of 171 training hours in order to graduate. The estimated $25,000 value of the training is covered by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, Lamb said, with Yamhill County only being responsible for meal expenses.

“It was really a tre­mendous op­portunity,” she said.

She has the distinction of being the second person in the state of Ore­gon to complete the train­ing, but she said she hopes she is far from the last.

The academy is considered an “entry point” for individuals interested in pursuing a career in emergency management, and so is aimed at teaching comprehensive foundational skills that are needed in the field. It welcomes students who are either new to emergency management or are transferring to the field from another profession.

“The foundational academy provides a unique opportunity to build camaraderie and establish professional contacts,” the release said. “Students also learned to understand the roles, responsibilities and legal boundaries associated with emergency management.”

Lamb graduated from the academy July 18.

FEMA’s mission is to support citizens and first responders to ensure that the nation can work together to build, sustain and improve its capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards. For more information on the agency or its emergency management courses, visit training.fema. gov/empp.

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