Hail and Congratulations to Colorado MEP Program Graduates! - by Tony Reidell

by Tony Reidell - State Exercise Coordinator
tony.reidell@state.co.us - (720) 852-6615

The Division's Cindy Vonfeldt and Elizabeth Ownsby, along with Art Pope of Pueblo County Sheriff's Office Emergency Services Bureau, David Ouimet of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region VIII Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program Office, Matthew Mueller from Denver Office of Emergency Management, Tim Klippert from the Medical Center of the Rockies and Pat Mialy from the City of Loveland Office of Emergency Management are the State and our Colorado-based partners latest Master Exercise Practitioner Program (MEPP) graduates.  This represents the single largest advance in our resident exercise capability in the last 5 years.  This team produced one of the finest exercise documents recently developed and will be field tested it later this year in Pueblo.  Congratulations to each of them.

Completing the prerequisites for MEPP admission are impressive in their own right.  They represents a commitment in both time and energy reflective of the serious nature of the program.  Once met, candidates are eligible to compete with all 57 states and territories for a coveted seat in one of three or four annual presentations.

Other hurdles to entry include the full support of the candidate's home agency.  This support begins with a challenging opening essay and required letter of introduction and endorsement from the candidate's superiors.  With that and a bit of luck, the candidate will be sorted, ranked and - hopefully - granted of the 50 or 60 individuals per cycle selected to attend this three week gorge of information and activities.

Normally spread over a 6 month timeline, the course load and work allows ample time for students to reflect on what, exactly, they have gotten themselves into.  The bulk of this time period is spent completing the required proficiency demonstrations of "PRODEM" as it is known in MEPP circles.

The PRODEMs are intended, as the name suggests, to demonstrate the student's mastery of all aspects of each of the three disciplines through the submission of fully developed exercises.  Not one but three individual PRODEMs are conducted, each of which are graded by the leading training and exercise subject matter experts in the country.  Assessments can be brutally honest and students have been sent home, others have not graduated and more than a few have chosen not to return.

The program is centered on three core disciplines:  Discussion-Based Exercise Design adn Evaluation (E-132), Operations-Based Exercise Design and Evaluation (E-133) and Operations-Based Exercise Development (E-136).  The program, launched in 1999 at the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) in Emmitsburg, Maryland, has produced approximately 2,000 select graduates.

The next course presentation (Series #17) is scheduled at the NETC starting October 25, 2010.  While that course may already be filled, FEMA Region VIII through CSEPP has a mobile training effort starting November 15 for qualified candidates.  Interested candidates can find the submission standards and requirements online at http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/emiopt.asp.  Applications must be routed through the State Training Coordinator, Robyn Knappe, at robyn.knappe@state.co.us.

Again, we congratulate and salute the efforts of Cindy, Elizabeth, Art and David!  Hail and Well Done!