Hazard Training for Local Officials

A community can improve its ability to prepare for and respond to storm events by taking advantage of available training for municipal officials. The following is a list of some of the best sources for (generally free) training.

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), offer various courses on disaster management for local officials. Contact the State Hazard Mitigation Team for information on class availability and schedules.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute

FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute offers training for local officials, ranging from free online classes to multi-day classes at their campus in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Depending on the course, FEMA may cover airfare, housing, and tuition for local government employees. Participants may receive professional or college credit. Emergency Management Institute courses include:

  • Independent study (online)
    • Disaster Basics
    • A Citizen’s Guide to Disaster Assistance
    • Engineering Principles and Practices for Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Structures
    • Introduction to Residential Coastal Construction
    • Introduction to Hazard Mitigation
    • Protecting Your Home or Small Business from Disaster
  • On-site (Emmitsburg, Maryland) training
    • Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts
    • National Flood Insurance Program/Community Rating System (NFIP/CRS)
    • Residential Coastal Construction

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center

The Coastal Services Center, which is part of NOAA, offers training options either at their home office in Charleston, South Carolina, or wherever they’re requested (so long as a minimum number of people can be assembled). Available courses include technical training on various computer programs (they specialize in Geographic Information Systems), coastal hazard management, project design and evaluation, and conflict management. See the NOAA Coastal Services Center training website for more information.

Other Organizations Offering Training

In addition to those listed elsewhere in this section, many other organizations offer occasional training for local officials, including the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety’s Board of Building Regulations and Standards. CZ-Mail is a monthly electronic newsletter published by CZM that includes available training courses and other calendar items, along with listings of new publications and other materials of interest to people working to manage coastal resources. For a free subscription, email cz-mail@state.ma.us.