Training and Exercises



Training is a necessity when it comes to any emergency response. Disasters can quickly create situations that even seasoned responders have not dealt with or that involve many agencies that usually don’t work together working on the same scene. Proper training will help to minimize risks to responders and maximize aid to victims.

All responders are encouraged to have a basic understanding of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as well as awareness level training in hazardous materials. In order to facilitate coordinated action, communities should consider having not just their emergency response agencies exposed to these concepts, but also school officials, road crews, and elected officials.

The LEPC is not a training organization, but we occasionally sponsor training and we can publicize trainings by our members that are open to outside agencies. Since this training is so time-sensitive, please see our News and Events page for any upcoming LEPC related training.

The links below are to the more established training programs.

EMD Certification Program

The Emergency Management Director (EMD) Certification Program is newly revised (July 2018). This program is designed to recognize superior acheivements in the EMD position. See the memo and training requirements below.

FEMA Training Programs

FEMA provides many programs, courses, and materials to support emergency preparedness and response for emergency personnel as well as the general public. These are available through the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the US Fire Academy, both in Emmitsburg, MD. Courses are available as resident, state-led or independent study classes. See the link below for both of these source of training. – Open in New Window

ICS Course Materials – Open in New Window

The new NIMS IS700 is available as an independent study course at: – Open in New Window

IS-100b Incident Command System (ICS) I-100 – Open in New Window

IS-800 National Response Plan (NRP), An Introduction – Open in New Window

Vermont Training Programs

ICS 100/200 is available through the Vermont Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Higher-level courses are available only through DEMHS. Please let the LEPC know if you are scheduling courses that would be open to personnel beyond your department.

Vermont-based First Responder Training across disciplines – Open in New Window

Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security – Open in New Window

Vermont Office of EMS Class Schedule – Open in New Window

Vermont Fire Service Training Council – Open in New Window


Other Training Programs

Eastern Area Wildland Fire Training – Open in New Window

Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher – Open in New Window

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Community Members that are not First Responders, but wish to be of assistance during emergencies should consider the CERT Program. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community. – Open in New Window


An exercise is simply a practice test of any emergency plans and procedures to familiarize responders with them, see if they work, and note how they can be improved. Vermont’s Homeland Security Unit can provide assistance with setting up and running an exercise.  Please go to or contact Jessica Stolz  at or 802-241-5094

Exercises come in several levels. For a list of scheduled exercises, please use the link below. – Open in New Window



Seminars offer a low-stress environment led by a seminar leader and are generally employed to orient participants to plans, procedures, response resources, and concepts. Seminars provide a good starting point for jurisdictions that are developing their plans and procedures.


Workshops are similar to seminars, but participant interaction is increased, and the focus is on achieving or building a product (such as a plan or a policy). Workshops provide an ideal forum for collecting or sharing information and team building.

Tabletop Exercises (TTXs)

Tabletops involve key personnel in an informal setting, discussing hypothetical scenarios. This type of exercise is aimed at facilitating understanding of concepts and identifying strengths and shortfalls. In a TTX players apply their knowledge and skills to a list of problems presented the leader/moderator, problems are discussed as a group, and resolution is generally agreed on and summarized by the leader.


Drills are a coordinated, supervised activity usually employed to test a single specific operation or function in a single agency. Drills are commonly used to provide hands-on training on new equipment, develop or test new policies or procedures, or practice and maintain current skills.

Functional Exercises

Functional exercises are generally focused on presenting complex and realistic problems that require rapid and effective responses in a highly stressful environment. Generally, events are projected through an exercise scenario with event updates that drive activity at the command/management level. Actual movement of personnel and equipment is simulated.

Full-Scale Exercises (FSEs)

Full-scale exercises are complex, multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional exercises conducted in a real-time, stressful environment that closely mirrors a real event. First responders and resources are actually mobilized and deployed to the “scene” where they conduct their actions as if a real incident had occurred (with minor exceptions). This provides an opportunity to execute plans, procedures, and cooperative (mutual aid) agreements. The exercise site is usually extensive with complex logistics, including supplying food and water to participants and volunteers. Safety issues must be monitored, and media outreach planned to avoid any misinterpretation of the event as real.

For More Information

More information on exercises can be found at the US Department of Homeland Security’s Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) – Open in New Window