On-line Courses in Emergency Management
for Cultural Heritage Responders

Lessons Applied

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. Many courses are available within specialized fields and regionally throughout the country. Links to Web sites that list scheduled courses are below under Calendars.

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:

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.

A Note About CERT Training

CERT (Community Emergency Response Training) is another resource for joining a local network of first responders. CERT training is provided within a local community and is focused on human health and safety issues. It is useful as an introduction to community resources and the local network. To find out if, when, and where CERT training is being provided in your area, check with your local, county, tribal, state, and regional offices. CERT training is often located under “Emergency Preparedness.”

All the online courses below are available free through Courses may take less time to complete than the estimates. The FEMA course brochure for the Independent Study Program of the Emergency Management Institute lists any course changes. The courses have been grouped in the following categories:

Essential for All Responders

IS-100 - Introduction to Incident Command System
As an introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS), this course 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). (0.3 CEU; approximately 3 hours)

Important for Regional Response

IS-200 - 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 and resources for personnel who are likely to assume a supervisory position within the ICS. (0.3 CEU; approximately 3 hours)

IS-546 - Continuity of Operations (COOP) Awareness Course
The one-hour Continuity of Operations (COOP) Awareness course is designed for all public sector employees. The course provides a fundamental understanding of COOP, terms, objectives, and benefits to public sector departments and agencies. It gives a brief overview of the elements of a viable COOP capability. This awareness course provides information on how a COOP event might affect employees, the department/agency, and an employee's family. (0.1 CEU; approximately 1 hour)

IS-700 - National Incident Management System (NIMS), Introduction
The NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to act in concert during domestic incidents. This course explains the purpose, principles, key components, and benefits of NIMS. It also contains "Planning Activity" screens giving you an opportunity to practice some planning tasks. (0.3 CEU; approximately 3 hours)

IS-800 - A National Response Plan (NRP), Introduction
The National Response Plan, or NRP, describes how the federal government will work in concert with local, county, tribal, and state governments and the private sector to respond to disasters. This course introduces the NRP. It is intended for DHS and other Federal staff responsible for implementing the NRP, and local, county, tribal, state, and private sector emergency management professionals. (0.3 CEU; approximately 3 hours)

Helpful to Response Team Leaders

IS-230 - Principles of Emergency Management (I)
This course is designed to provide a basic framework for understanding emergency management in the following areas: an overview of the integrated emergency management system; the emergency management cycle; the plan as the program centerpiece; functions of an emergency management program; emergency management program participants; and applying emergency management principles. (1.0 CEU; approximately 10 hours)

IS-235 - Principles of Emergency Management (II)
The ability to use all the basic elements of the planning process gives emergency managers and planners a basis for working together to shape the community’s disaster response to all types of hazards and problems. This course is designed to provide common experience of a properly structured Emergency Operations Plan in the following areas: the planning process; hazard analysis; the basic plan; annexes and appendices; and implementing instructions (1.0 CEU; approximately 10 hours)

IS-240 - Leadership and Influence
Being able to lead others (to motivate them to commit their energies and expertise to achieving the shared mission and goals of the emergency management system) is a vital part of every emergency manager’s, planner’s, and responder’s job. This course is designed to improve your leadership and influence skills. It addresses leadership from within; how to facilitate change; how to build and rebuild trust; using personal influence and political savvy, and fostering an environment for leadership development. (0.9 CEU; approximately 9 hours)

IS-244 - Developing and Managing Volunteers
This course is for emergency managers and related professionals working with all types of volunteers and coordinating with voluntary agencies. This course will provide procedures and tools for building and working with voluntary organizations. Topics include benefits and challenges of using volunteers; building a volunteer program; writing job descriptions; developing volunteers through recruitment; coordinating with voluntary agencies and community-based organizations; and special issues such as spontaneous volunteers, liability, and stress. (1.0 CEU; approximately 10 hours)

Additional Courses of Interest

IS-241 - Decision Making and Problem Solving - Professional Development Series
This course is designed to improve your decision-making skills. It addresses the decision-making process; decision-making styles; attributes of an effective decision maker; and ethical decision making and problem solving. (0.8 CEU; approximately 8 hours)

IS-242 - Effective Communication - Professional Development Series
This course is designed to improve your communication skills. It addresses basic communication skills; how to communicate in an emergency; how to identify community-specific communication issues; how to use technology as a communication tool; effective oral communication; and how to prepare an oral presentation (0.8 CEU; approximately 8 hours)

IS-253 - Coordinating Environmental and Historic Preservation Compliance
This 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 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; and help the user understand how the environmental and historic preservation review process applies to various job responsibilities. (1.0 CEU; approximately 10 hours)

IS-292 - Disaster Basics
This course will provide individuals with the basic information about federal disaster programs and operations. It is used to prepare FEMA managers for response or recovery operations whether assigned to; a Regional Operations Center, an Emergency Operations Center, Disaster Field Office, or other FEMA fixed facility. (1.0 CEU; approximately 10 hours)


The following Websites list courses in preparedness, response, and recovery of cultural heritage materials:

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

Heritage Preservation

Regional Alliance for Preservation

Conservation Online


Disclaimer: This list is not inclusive and may not reflect the most recent information. It does not include specialized training required in a conservator or cultural heritage specialist’s field of expertise. New courses are under development, and many others are offered by organizations throughout the country with varying focus.

Lessons Applied is coordinated by Heritage Preservation and made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Bay and Paul Foundations.