Why CHHS Clients Should Care About CEM

January 25th, 2011

I spent the past three years pursuing the professional certification “CEM” from the International Association of Emergency Managers. The CEM is a certified emergency manager and is the highest and most distinguished certification available to emergency managers.

So why did my pursuit take three years, you ask? Well, even to be considered for the certification a candidate must spend the equivalent of three years of full-time employment in the field of emergency management, which doesn’t include time as a first responder (like a firefighter). I also was required to complete 200 hours of training, above and beyond formal education. A 100-question exam and essay, both of which cover all phases of emergency management, were also on my to-do list.

Then I got to the hard part: completing professional contributions above and beyond your regular job duties. Six of 14 need to be completed, ranging from an association membership for three years to publication in a professional journal and leadership roles.

So why did CHHS support my efforts to achieve this milestone that only 1,578 others have achieved in the nearly 20 years the certification has existed? Simple, by adding CEMs to its employee roster, CHHS has a greater breadth and depth of knowledge from which their clients and other staff can pull from. Christina Crue, our Exercise Program Manager, is also a CEM. Achieving my CEM has taught me how emergency management specialties (planning, exercises, mitigation, etc.) mesh together for a comprehensive program in any jurisdiction.

Prospective clients needing to fill contracts should look for CEMs as a qualification of key personnel because we offer a unique perspective on emergency management. First, CEMs have real experience in all phases of emergency management, not just book-knowledge. This means we can tie planning priorities to response and mitigation without missing a beat. Second, the training and association membership requirements ensure we stay current on the latest trends and issues facing emergency managers. Finally, CEMs are part of an elite group of emergency managers who have proven to peer reviewers that they are dedicated to and passionate about their profession. Sometimes finding individuals who care about their work can mean the difference between simply completing a project and rising to meet the demands of the project.

For more information on CEMs, please contact Kimberly Nagel at knagel@law.umaryland.edu or http://www.iaem.com/certification/generalinfo/intro.htm

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