The National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP), Columbia Climate School, at Columbia University has been awarded U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants since 2016. These programs have focused on post-disaster economic and housing recovery, mass care community sheltering and relocation assistance, pandemic preparedness and response, and Tribal Nations readiness and resilience. The trainings highlight best practices and lessons learned for emergency managers, community groups, and the general public.

With the increasing impacts of climate change, we can expect to see more extreme disasters due to more extreme hazards and growing vulnerability to those hazards. As with other disasters, historically underserved communities are disproportionately at risk. As part of broader federal efforts to mitigate and adapt to climatological challenges, in 2022, NCDP was awarded an additional three-year training grant to create a national curriculum on climate resilience with a focus on equity for today’s state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency managers.

The free curricula, available across the U.S. in both instructor-led and web-based modalities, include several collaborative activities, planning tools, tool kits, and geographic information system resources that learners can incorporate into their work practices. To find instructor-led or web-based courses available, download the Training Course Catalog (PDF). To find out more about this training program or to register for an instructor-led or web-based course, please visit our newly designed and interactive Training Center Portal.

Background

Recent hurricanes, unprecedented flooding, wildfires, and the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the need for more training programs geared toward climate literacy and equity, business continuity planning, economic impact analysis, financial literacy, housing disaster case management, pandemic planning in mass care settings, and the transition of disaster survivors from temporary to permanent housing. Needs assessments conducted by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness have highlighted the lack of trainings in these areas. These free training programs are an effort to initiate new dialogues about how federal, state, local, and tribal/territorial partners can collaborate across sectors  on economic and housing issues, mass care and sheltering, and pandemic planning while addressing the needs of vulnerable populations. 

Climate Resilience and Equitable Disaster Response

These trainings are designed to help emergency managers and the whole community learn about climate change, its impacts, and effects on underserved populations. All trainings are in development and are coming soon. About this training program (PDF).

Pandemic Preparedness and Response

Trainings are designed to help the learner plan and address the needs for mass sheltering operations during multiple disasters and/or during a pandemic. These trainings highlight best practices and lessons learned for pandemic planning in mass care settings, with a specific focus on the needs of society’s most vulnerable. About this training program (PDF).

Addressing Gaps in Housing Disaster Recovery: A Training Program for the Whole Community

This training addresses a number of pre- and post-disaster planning issues in relation to long-term housing recovery. Learners will learn how to design, develop, coordinate, and implement a comprehensive and flexible management plan to coordinate Federal, state, local, private, and philanthropic resources to identify and provide short and long-term housing solutions and incorporate sustainability and resilience measures into long-term housing redevelopment.

Transitioning Disaster Survivors from Temporary to Permanent Housing

These trainings focus on disaster case management for the housing sector and the transition of disaster survivors from temporary to permanent housing. These trainings provide examples from recent and historic disasters to show how important it is to be aware of the full array of challenges with code enforcement and permitting.

Innovative Disaster Recovery Strategies for Interim and Permanent Housing Construction

These trainings address ways to coordinate and manage a state or local disaster housing task force, as specified in the 2018 Disaster Recovery Reform Act, to include post-incident assessment capabilities, resource coordination and integration, and long-term housing recovery planning. The curriculum is designed to increase the student’s awareness of the roles of zoning, code enforcement, and utility infrastructure restoration in post-disaster housing planning and the needs of historically under-served populations for long-term housing recovery.

Enhancing Financial Literacy of Individuals and Businesses for Post-Disaster Recovery

These trainings focus on ways to better foster financial literacy for both families and businesses. Through the introduction of a SWOT Analysis (Skills-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats), the curriculum helps families and organizations identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in relation to financial planning for post-disaster economic recovery. A series of case studies pertaining to financial decision-making is provided, along with several federal programs for which disaster survivors can apply for financial assistance.

Enhancing Tribal Nations’ Readiness and Resilience (Coming Soon)

Tribal Nations have historically been disproportionately affected by disasters but without access to vital resources before, during, and afterward. In 2023, NCDP was awarded an additional three-year training grant to create a curriculum on Tribal Nations’ Readiness and Resilience to address this need. Trainings will address preparedness gaps consistent with cultures, values, governance structures, and doctrine to improve readiness and resilience. These trainings will help close the gap in preparedness in Tribal Nations and deliver on the priorities of FEMA’s National Tribal Strategy to foster innovative training capabilities. About this training program (PDF).

FEMA logo

FEMA’s National Training and Education Division (NTED) offers a full catalog of courses at no cost to help build critical skills that responders need to function effectively in mass consequence events. Course subjects range from Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) terrorism, cybersecurity, and agro-terrorism to citizen preparedness and public works. NTED courses include multiple delivery methods: instructor-led (direct deliveries), train-the-trainers (indirect deliveries), customized (conferences and seminars), and web-based. Instructor-led courses are offered in residence (i.e., at a training facility) or through mobile programs, in which courses are brought to state and local jurisdictions that request the training.

Visit the National Training and Education Division (NTED) website (www.firstrespondertraining.gov) for a full list of FEMA NTED courses.

†This project is supported by Cooperative Agreements EMW-2020-CA-00064, EMW-2021-CA-00092, EMW-2021-CA-00093, EMW-2022-CA-00037, and EMW-2023-GG019446 administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Points of view or opinions expressed in this document are those of the author and do not represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

All training requires participants to register for a FEMA Student Identification (SID) Number prior to attending: https://cdp.dhs.gov/femasid/register.