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Courses in Emergency Management
for Cultural Heritage Responders

Emergency preparedness and response in the cultural heritage field require ongoing commitment to training and education. No two emergency incidents are the same; the more you know and experience, the more effective you will be in any situation. 

Conservators and cultural heritage professionals bring specialized knowledge about the physical nature and social value of cultural materials to a response effort, but it is important to receive training on the proper salvage and recovery of cultural materials. 

It is equally important to know how to function as a responder within the existing framework of local, county, tribal, state, and federal response systems. This is valuable information whether you are responding to emergencies within your community or nationwide. 

All emergencies have some common elements that need to be understood in order to minimize loss and respond most effectively, including: 

  • communications based on emergency networks and official response structure(s)
  • access to resources, including:
    • experienced or trained labor,
    • supplies
    • critical equipment and services such as transport, storage space, etc.
  • recognition that civil authorities may temporarily be in charge of institutions affected by the emergency.

Cultural heritage responders should be aware of the networks that exist for responding to emergencies and familiar with the mechanisms for working with them collaboratively and effectively. The free courses listed below will teach you official protocols and structure, terminology, and key local contacts for emergency response, whether you are assisting your own institution or serving as part of a volunteer team. 

All the online courses below are available free through  

Essential for All Responders

IS-100.B: Introduction to Incident Command System, ICS-100

ICS 100, Introduction to the Incident Command System, introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. This course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

CEUs: 0.3
Course Length: 3 hours

Important for Regional Response

IS-200.B: ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents

ICS 200 is designed to enable personnel to operate efficiently during an incident or event within the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS-200 provides training on and resources for personnel who are likely to assume a supervisory position within the ICS.

CEUs: 0.3
Course Length: 3 hours

IS-546.A: Continuity of Operations Awareness Course

This course introduces students to the concept of continuity planning.  The course provides a brief overview of continuity, including its definition, the legal basis for continuity planning, the Continuity Program Management Cycle, and essential elements of a viable continuity program.

CEUs: 0.1
Course Length: 1 hour

IS-700.A: National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction

This course introduces and overviews the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents.

CEUs: 0.3
Course Length: 3 hours

IS-800.B: National Response Framework, An Introduction

The course introduces participants to the concepts and principles of the National Response Framework.

CEUs: 0.3
Course Length: 3 hours

Helpful to Response Team Leaders

IS-230.D: Fundamentals of Emergency Management

The goal of this course is to introduce you to the fundamentals of emergency management. This course presents emergency management as an integrated system with resources and capabilities networked together to address all hazards. This is the first course in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute’s independent study Professional Development Series.

CEUs: 0.6
Course Length: 6 hours

IS-235.C: Emergency Planning

This course is designed for emergency management personnel who are involved in developing an effective emergency planning system. This course offers training in the fundamentals of the emergency planning process, including the rationale behind planning. It will develop your capability for effective participation in the all-hazard emergency operations planning process to save lives and protect property threatened by disaster.

CEUs: 0.5
Course Length: 5 hours

IS-240.B: Leadership and Influence

Being able to lead others—to motivate them and commit their energies and expertise to achieving the shared mission and goals of the emergency management system—is a necessary and vital part of every emergency manager’s, planner’s, and responder’s job.

CEUs: 0.3
Course Length: 3 hours

IS-244.B: Developing and Managing Volunteers

The goal of this course is to strengthen abilities to prepare for and manage volunteers before, during, and after a severe emergency or major disaster.

CEUs: 0.4
Course Length: 4 hours


Additional Courses of Interest

IS-241.B: Decision Making and Problem Solving

Being able to make decisions and solve problems effectively is a necessary and vital part of the job for every emergency manager, planner, and responder. This course is designed to improve your decision-making skills.

CEUs: 0.2
Course Length: 2 hours

IS-242.B: Effective Communication

Being able to communicate effectively is a necessary and vital part of the job for every emergency manager, planner, and responder. This course is designed to improve your communication skills.

CEUs: 0.8
Course Length: 8 hours

IS-253.A: Overview of FEMA's Environmental and Historic Preservation Review

This interactive computer-based course provides an overview of FEMA's environmental and historic preservation compliance responsibilities and is an independent study alternative to the 4-day E/L253 course held at the Emergency Management Institute or in the regional offices. The course is designed to: provide the user with the basic background and practical knowledge needed to participate in FEMA's environmental and historic preservation review process; help the user understand how the environmental/historic preservation review process applies to various job responsibilities within FEMA's programs; and, provide the resources necessary for the user to accomplish environmental/historic preservation responsibilities.

CEUs: 0.4
Course Length: 4 hours