FEMA Independent Study Courses: Common Questions and Answers

What is FEMA?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. It was created with the primary responsibility of coordinating the response to disasters that occur within the United States and that overwhelm the resources of local and state authorities. The agency was established by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 under President Jimmy Carter and implemented by two Executive Orders on April 1, 1979. FEMA’s headquarters is in Washington D.C., with regional offices nationwide.

Before the creation of FEMA, disaster relief was handled on an ad-hoc basis, with Congress passing separate laws to provide federal funds for each major disaster that occurred.

FEMA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with ten regional offices across the United States. These regional offices coordinate disaster response and recovery operations in states, territories, and tribal areas located within their respective regions. The Administrator controls the agency, is appointed by the President, and is confirmed by the Senate. The Administrator reports directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

FEMA is funded through the federal budget, specifically through appropriations from Congress. In fiscal year 2020, Congress appropriated approximately $45 billion to FEMA. States frequently impacted by disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, or floods, like Florida, Texas, and California, often have significant interactions with the agency.

You can contact FEMA by writing to the following address: P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055 or call them at the FEMA Helpline: 1-800-621-3362

What does FEMA do?

FEMA’s primary mission is to coordinate the response to disasters within the US. FEMA uses the National Response Framework (NRF) to guide how the nation responds to all types of disasters and emergencies. The NRF is built on scalable, flexible, and adaptable concepts identified in the National Incident Management System to align key roles and responsibilities.

FEMA can respond to various disasters, including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and forest fires. The agency assists individuals, families, and businesses whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance.

How does FEMA contribute to community engagement?

FEMA contributes to community engagement through its Community Engagement Prioritization Tool (CEPT), Community Engagement Toolkit, and Community Engagement and Risk Communication (CERC) program. FEMA also offers independent study courses that are available free of charge. These tools and programs help communities understand disaster risks and take action to increase their resilience – which is the main mission of our website, Public Purpose.

What training does FEMA offer?

FEMA offers a wide range of training programs to help prepare individuals, communities, and emergency responders for disasters. FEMA’s training programs are managed by the National Preparedness Directorate’s National Training and Education Division (NTED) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) National Fire Academy. They include on-campus and online courses, covering topics such as hazardous materials, earthquake preparedness, animal disaster response, special events contingency planning, and many others.

What are FEMA Independent Study Courses?

FEMA Independent Study Courses (IS) are a series of free online classes that cover a wide range of topics related to emergency management, including hazardous materials, earthquake preparedness, animal disaster response, special events contingency planning, and many others.

Are you interested in emergency preparedness and disaster response? Or are you required to obtain FEMA IS certifications for your work? FEMA’s Independent Study (IS) program offers a wealth of free, online courses that can help you achieve both goals. Whether you want to prepare your household, support your community, explore a career in emergency management, or fulfill professional requirements, these courses provide a solid foundation.

FEMA official IS course list

Currently, there are 208 active FEMA Independent Study courses, which are listed below:

IS-5.a: An Introduction to Hazardous Materials
IS-8.a: Building for the Earthquakes of Tomorrow: Complying with Executive Order 12699
IS-10.a: Animals in Disasters: Awareness and Preparedness 
IS-11.a : Animals in Disasters: Community Planning
IS-15.b: Special Events Contingency Planning for Public Safety Agencies
IS-18.22: FEMA EEO Employee Course 2022
IS-19.22: FEMA EEO Supervisor Course 2022 
IS-20.22: Diversity Awareness Course 2022
IS-21.22: Civil Rights and FEMA Disaster Assistance
IS-26: Guide to Points of Distribution 
IS-27: Orientation to FEMA Logistics 
IS-29.a : Public Information Officer Awareness
IS-30.b: Mitigation eGrants System for the Subgrant Applicant
IS-31.b: Mitigation eGrants for the Grant Applicant
IS-32.a : Mitigation eGrants Internal System
IS-35.22: FEMA Safety Orientation 2022 
IS-36.a : Preparedness for Child Care Providers
IS-37.22: Managerial Safety and Health
IS-42.a : Social Media in Emergency Management
IS-45: Continuous Improvement (CI) Overview
IS-60.b: The Homeland Security Geospatial Concept-of-Operations (GeoCONOPS) for Planners and Decision Makers
IS-61.b: The Homeland Security Geospatial Concept-of-Operations (GeoCONOPS) In Depth
IS-62.b: The Homeland Security Geospatial Concept-of-Operations (GeoCONOPS) In Use
IS-63.b: Geospatial Information Infrastructure (GII)
IS-64.a: DHS Common Operating Picture Application
IS-75: Military Resources in Emergency Management
IS-100.C: Introduction to the Incident Command System, ICS 100
IS-101.c: Preparing for Federal Disaster Operations: FEMA
IS-102.c: Preparing for Federal Disaster Operations: FEMA Response Partners
IS-103: Geospatial Information Systems Specialist
IS-107.22: FEMA Travel Rules and Regulations 2022 
IS-111.a: Livestock in Disasters
IS-120.c: An Introduction to Exercises 
IS-130.a: How to be an Exercise Evaluator
IS-139.a: Exercise Design and Development
IS-144.a: TERT Basic Course
IS-156: Building Design for Homeland Security for Continuity of Operations 
IS-158: Hazard Mitigation Flood Insurance in Disaster Operations
IS-162: Hazard Mitigation Floodplain Management in Disaster Operations
IS-200.c: Basic Incident Command System for Initial Response 
IS-201: Forms Used for the Development of the Incident Action Plan
IS-212.b: Introduction to Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA)
IS-215: Unified Federal Review Advisor Training: An Overview of the UFR Process
IS-216: An Overview of the Unified Federal Review Process: Training for Federal Disaster Recovery Leadership
IS-230.e: Fundamentals of Emergency Management
IS-235.c: Emergency Planning 
IS-240.b: Leadership and Influence
IS-241.c: Decision Making and Problem Solving
IS-242.b: Effective Communication
IS-244.b: Developing and Managing Volunteers
IS-245.b: Introduction to the Federal Priorities and Allocations System
IS-246.22: Implementing the Federal Priorities and Allocations System (FPAS)
IS-247.b: Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) for Alert Originators 
IS-251.a: Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) for Alerting Administrators
IS-253.a: Overview of FEMA’s Environmental and Historic Preservation Review
IS-271.a: Anticipating Hazardous Weather & Community Risk, 2nd Edition
IS-273: How to Read a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
IS-274: How to Use a Flood Insurance Study (FIS)
IS-279.a: Introduction to Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Buildings
IS-280: Overview of: Engineering Principles and Practices for Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Structures, FEMA Publication 259, 3rd Edition
IS-284.a: Using the Substantial Damage Estimator 3.0 Tool
IS-285: Substantial Damage Estimation for Floodplain Administrators
IS-288.a: The Role of Voluntary Organizations in Emergency Management
IS-289: Voluntary Agency Liaison (VAL) Overview
IS-293: Mission Assignment Overview
IS-302: Modular Emergency Radiological Response Transportation Training
IS-315.a: CERT and the Incident Command System (ICS)
IS-317.a: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Team (CERTs)
IS-318: Mitigation Planning for Local and Tribal Communities
IS-319.a: Tornado Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff
IS-320: Wildfire Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff
IS-321: Hurricane Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff
IS-322: Flood Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff
IS-323: Earthquake Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff
IS-324.a:Community Hurricane Preparedness
IS-325: Earthquake Basics: Science, Risk, and Mitigation 
IS-326: Community Tsunami Preparedness 
IS-328: Plan Review for Local Mitigation Plans 
IS-329: State Hazard Mitigation Planning
IS-337: Posting Integrated Financial Management Information System Transactions – 
IS-350: Mitigation Planning for Tribal Communities
IS-360: Preparing for Mass Casualty Incidents: A Guide for Schools, Higher Education, and Houses of Worship
IS-362.a: Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools
IS-363: Introduction to Emergency Management for Higher Education
IS-366.a: Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters
IS-368: Including People With Disabilities & Others With Access & Functional Needs in Disaster Operations
IS-393.b: Introduction to Hazard Mitigation
IS-394.a: Protecting Your Home or Small Business From Disaster
IS-395: FEMA Risk Assessment Database
IS-403: Introduction to Individual Assistance (IA)
IS-405: Overview of Mass Care/Emergency Assistance
IS-450: Emergency Preparedness for Federal Employees
IS-450.NC: Emergency Preparedness for Federal Employees in the National Capital Region
IS-453: Introduction to Homeland Security Planning
IS-505: Concepts of Religious Literacy for Emergency Management
IS-520: Introduction to Continuity of Operations Planning for Pandemic Influenzas
IS-545: Reconstitution Planning Course
IS-551: Devolution Planning
IS-552: The Public Works Role in Emergency Management
IS-553.a : Coordination between Water Utilities and Emergency Management Agencies
IS-554 : Emergency Planning for Public Works 
IS-556 : Damage Assessment for Public Works 
IS-558 : Public Works and Disaster Recovery 
IS-559 : Local Damage Assessment 
IS-632.a : Introduction to Debris Operations 
IS-633 : Debris Management Plan Development
IS-650.b : Building Partnerships with Tribal Governments
IS-660 : Introduction to Public-Private Partnerships
IS-662 : Improving Preparedness and Resilience through Public-Private Partnerships 
IS-700.b : An Introduction to the National Incident Management System
IS-703.b : National Incident Management System Resource Management
IS-706 : NIMS Intrastate Mutual Aid – An Introduction 
IS-727 : Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands
IS-772.a : Individual Assistance Preliminary Damage Assessment Orientation
IS-800.d : National Response Framework, An Introduction
IS-815: ABCs of Temporary Emergency Power
IS-822: Fundamentals of Management and Support Coordination of Federal Disaster Operations
IS-841.a: NEMIS HMGP System: Overview and Startup
IS-842.b: NEMIS HMGP System: Enter the HMGP Application
IS-843.a : NEMIS HMGP System: Project Eligibility Determination
IS-844.a : NEMIS HMGP System: Managing Project Tasks
IS-845.a : NEMIS HMGP System: Oversight and Closeout
IS-860.c : The National Infrastructure Protection Plan, An Introduction
IS-870.a : Dams Sector: Crisis Management
IS-871.a : Dams Sector: Security Awareness
IS-872.a : Dams Sector: Protective Measures
IS-874 : Introduction to Seepage and Internal Erosion and the Emergency Response to Seepage Related Dam Risks
IS-875 : Identifying, Monitoring and Addressing Seepage and Internal Erosion at dams
IS-876 : Evaluation and Analysis of Internal Erosion and Seepage Conditions at dams
IS-904 : Active Shooter Prevention: You Can Make a Difference
IS-906 : Workplace Security Awareness
IS-907 : Active Shooter: What You Can Do
IS-908 : Emergency Management for Senior Officials 
IS-909 : Community Preparedness: Implementing Simple Activities for Everyone 
IS-912 : Retail Security Awareness: Understanding the Hidden Hazards
IS-913.a : Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience: Achieving Results through Partnership and Collaboration
IS-914 : Surveillance Awareness: What You Can Do
IS-915 : Protecting Critical Infrastructure Against Insider Threats
IS-916 : Critical Infrastructure Security: Theft and Diversion – What You Can Do – 
IS-922.a : Applications of GIS for Emergency Management
IS-951 : DHS Radio Interoperability
IS-1000 : Public Assistance Program and Eligibility
IS-1001 : The Public Assistance Delivery Model Orientation
IS-1002 : FEMA Grants Portal – Transparency at Every Step
IS-1004 : The FEMA Site Inspection Process
IS-1005 : Public Assistance Alternative Procedures
IS-1006 : Documenting Disaster Damage and Developing Project Files
IS-1007 : Detailed Damage Description and Dimensions
IS-1008 : Scope of Work Development (Scoping and Costing)
I S-1009 : Conditions of the Public Assistance Grant
IS-1010 : Emergency Protective Measures
IS-1011 : Roads and Culverts
IS-1012 : Direct Administrative Costs
IS-1013 : Costing – Estimates and the Cost Estimating Format
IS-1014 : Integrating 406 Mitigation Considerations into Your Public Assistance Grant
IS-1015 : Insurance Considerations, Compliance, and Requirements
IS-1016 : Environmental and Historic Preservation (EHP) Considerations/Compliance for Public Assistance Grants
IS-1017 : Scope Change Requests, Time Extensions, Improved/Alternate Project Requests
IS-1018 : Determination Memorandums and Appeals
IS-1019 : Codes and Standards
IS-1020 : Public Assistance Donated Resources
IS-1021 : Bridge Damage Considerations
IS-1022 : Substantiating Disaster-Related Damages to Buildings, Contents, Vehicles, and Equipment
IS-1023 : Electrical Systems Considerations
IS-1024 : Water and Wastewater Treatment System Considerations
IS-1025 : Grant Administration Decisions for Tribal Governments
IS-1026 : Eligibility of Private Nonprofit Organizations
IS-1027 : Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG)
IS-1100.a : Increased Cost of Compliance 
IS-1101.b : Basic Agent Tutorial 
IS-1102 : Theory of Elevation Rating
IS-1103.a : Elevation Certificate for Surveyors
IS-1104 : NFIP Claims Review for Adjusters
IS-1105.a : EC Made Easy: Elevation Certificate Overview
IS-1106.a : FEMA Mapping Changes
IS-1107 : Adjuster Customer Service
IS-1108 : Insuring Condominiums
IS-1109.a : Understanding Basement Coverage
IS-1110.a : Writing Commercial Exposures
IS-1111 : Introduction to Commercial Claims
IS-1112 : Introduction to Flood Claims
IS-1113 : Coastal Barrier Resources Act
IS-1114 : Adjusting RCBAP and Condo Unit Owner Claims
IS-1115 : Claims Process for Agents
IS-1116 : Sales for Agents
IS-1117 : Severe Repetitive Loss for Agents
IS-1119 : Letters of Map Amendment (LOMAs) and Letters of Map Revision–Based on Fill (LOMR-Fs)
IS-1120 : Letters of Map Revision
IS-1150 : DHS Human Trafficking Awareness for FEMA Employees
IS-1151 : Blue Campaign Disaster Responder Training
IS-1152 : Blue Campaign First Responder Training
IS-1170 : Introduction to the Interagency Security Committee (ISC)
IS-1171 : Overview of Interagency Security Committee (ISC) Publications
IS-1172 : The Risk Management Process for Federal Facilities: Facility Security Level (FSL) Determination
IS-1173 : Levels of Protection (LOP) and Application of the Design-Basis Threat (DBT) Report
IS-1174 : Facility Security Committees
IS-1190 : The National Oil & Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan and the National Response System Independent Study Course
IS-1200 : TERT Team Leader Course
IS-1300 : Introduction to Continuity of Operations
IS-2000 : National Preparedness Goal and System Overview
IS-2001 : Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA)
IS-2002 : Introduction to FEMA Operational Planning
IS-2101 : Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) 101 Beginner Training Course
IS-2200 : Basic Emergency Operations Center Functions
IS-2500 : National Prevention Framework, an Introduction
IS-2600 : National Protection Framework, An Introduction
IS-2700 : National Mitigation Framework, an Introduction
IS-2900.a : National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) Overview
IS-2901 : Introduction to Community Lifelines
IS-2905 : Coordinating Health and Social Services Recovery

How long does it take to complete a FEMA IS course?

Completing a FEMA Independent Study (IS) course takes 1.5 hours to several days or weeks. Each course is self-paced, so the time required to complete a class depends on its length and the individual’s learning schedule.

What are the benefits of completing FEMA IS courses?

Completing FEMA Independent Study (IS) courses can offer individuals the following five benefits:

  1. Career Advancement: FEMA IS courses provide qualifications that enhance your resume and make you more attractive to potential employers in related fields, such as emergency response, public safety, and disaster recovery.
  2.  Flexibility and Accessibility: These courses are self-paced and online, so you can balance your professional commitments and personal life while advancing your learning.
  3.  FEMA IS courses are all free-of-charge.
  4.  Community Leadership and Engagement: The knowledge and skills acquired from FEMA IS courses enable you to become a valuable resource in your local community. You can provide guidance on disaster preparedness, assist in community response efforts during a crisis, and lead community education initiatives on these topics.
  5. Personal Preparedness: In a local disaster, the information you learn is crucial for your preparedness and survival.

Are FEMA IS courses accredited or recognized by other organizations?

Yes, FEMA IS courses are recognized by many organizations, for example, for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through the Emergency Management Institute’s (EMI) accreditation by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). Some colleges, like Frederick Community College (FCC), may provide college credit for completed IS courses.

Furthermore, professional certification programs such as the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recognize FEMA IS courses for certain requirements. However, recognition can vary, so verification with the specific organization or institution is necessary.

Will you receive a FEMA certificate for completing IS courses?

Yes, you will receive a certificate for each FEMA IS course you have completed. You can use these certificates at your current or future workplace to demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning and understanding key emergency management principles.

Can I add my FEMA IS course certificate to my resume or Linkedin Profile?

Yes, you can add your FEMA IS course certificate to your resume or LinkedIn profile. You can list the course title, completion date, and any relevant details about the course content or skills learned.

How long does a FEMA certification last?

FEMA certifications never expire. According to FEMA.gov, you can retake FEMA IS exams unlimited times. However, FEMA’s system will not re-score your original exam, and you will see your original score and date of completion on your certificate.

How to access FEMA Independent Study courses?

You can access FEMA Independent Study courses through the FEMA Independent Study Program homepage. To take FEMA courses online, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Register for a Student Identification Number (SID) if you still need to.
  2.  Select a course from the course list at http://training.fema.gov/is/crslist.aspx or the Emergency Management Institutes Course Schedules.
  3.  Review course materials.
  4.  Select the “Take Final Exam Online” link (found on each Course Overview page).
  5.  Enter your SID and your additional Student Information.
  6.  Answer the exam questions and submit your answer choices.

Who is eligible to take FEMA IS courses?

FEMA IS courses are generally limited to U.S. residents, although the EMI does accommodate a select number of international participants annually. Students interested in EMI courses must satisfy each course’s specific selection criteria and prerequisites.

Are FEMA IS courses available in languages other than English?

Yes, FEMA’s official website provides various resources and documents in Spanish, including many IS course materials.

What is the EMI student portal?

The EMI Student Portal is an online platform to access your Independent Study (IS) Completion Certificates and IS Transcripts for personal, employer, or educational institution use. You can reach it by visiting the official FEMA website and navigating to the Emergency Management Institute section.

What should I know about the FEMA IS exam?

FEMA Independent Study exams are taken at the end of each IS course. Here are some essential details:

  1. Open Book: The exams are open book, which means you can check the course material while taking the test.
  2.  Question Types: The exams generally consist of multiple-choice and alternative-response (true or false) questions.
  3.  Number of Questions: There are approximately 20 to 30 questions per exam.
  4.  Passing Score: You must score 75% or higher to pass a FEMA IS exam.
  5.  Difficulty Level: Most FEMA IS courses are not challenging, as they are designed to be accessible to a broad audience. Additionally, the fact that the exams are open book helps a lot in passing them.
  6.  Exam Attempts: You can retake FEMA IS exams unlimited times.

After passing the exam, you can download your certificate of completion from the FEMA website. If you are taking the course for professional development or college credit, you can also request an official transcript from the Emergency Management Institute.

How does Public Purpose help in answering FEMA IS test questions?

Public Purpose simplifies the FEMA IS test preparation process through a three-pronged approach. Firstly, we collect the frequently asked FEMA IS test questions, previewing potential exam queries.

Next, we source answers directly from official FEMA course materials, providing detailed explanations. Our goal is to give you a deeper understanding of the subject so you understand the answer and the reasoning behind it.

Lastly, our team comprises seasoned authors who have taken multiple FEMA IS courses, equipping them with unique insights into the structure and nuances of the exams.

Source: training.fema.gov