Next week I’ll be out of the office on one of my occasional stints as a federal emergency responder. I haven’t had the opportunity to do much since we responded to Katrina, and, to be honest, am surprised the team still lets me hang on (it’s in Colorado, I’m in Arizona, and I don’t get to train much anymore). Who knows how much longer I’ll get to put a uniform on- the politics of domestic response are a freaking mess these days, with all the cash funding the war, and I won’t be surprised if some of the more expensive (and thus capable) parts of the system are dismantled. Hopefully we can hang on through the next election.

Anyway, enough of my left wing liberal complaints about domestic security and on to incident management.

Although I haven’t written much about it on the blog (just the occasional post), one area I talk a lot about is incident response and disaster management. Translating my experiences as a 9-1-1 and disaster responder into useful business principles. I’m frequently asked where people can get management level training on incident management. While SANS and others have some technology-oriented incident response courses, the best management level training out there is from FEMA.

Yes, that FEMA.

For no cost you can take some of their Incident Command Systems (ICS) courses online. I highly recommend ICS 100 and ICS 200 for anyone interested in the topic. No, not all of it will apply, but the fundamental principles are designed for ANY kind of incident of ANY scale. If nothing else, it will get you thinking.

And while I’m at it, here’s a definition of “Incident” that I like to use:

An incident is any situation that exceeds normal risk management processes.

Although I’ve sat through a lot of the training before, I never actually went through the program and test. I’m fairly impressed- these are some of the better online courses I’ve seen.