FEMA announces new application period for emergency manager exchange

January 26, 2024

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, recently opened a new application period for its Emergency Manager Exchange (EMX) program.

This initiative invites state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency managers to engage in a mutual exchange of experience and expertise with FEMA.

A bridge between federal and non-federal emergency management

The EMX program aims to foster a collaborative environment where both federal and non-federal participants can share perspectives and influence policies directly impacting disaster survivors.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell emphasized the importance of this collaboration: “Disaster management works best when all levels of government work together and use their experiences to make informed decisions throughout disaster response and recovery,” she said.

“We created FEMA’s Emergency Manager Exchange program to help more state and local emergency managers gain federal experience and for FEMA employees to learn from their counterparts.”

Details of the exchange program

The program involves a six-month working period where non-federal emergency managers will operate in FEMA offices.

Here, they will engage with key decision-makers, helping to shape policies and programs.

Conversely, FEMA staff will be deployed to the emergency manager’s home office to understand their work and help fill in gaps.

The application period for the 2024 EMX runs from January 22 to February 9, 2024, with the exchange taking place between March and September of the same year.

Building on the success of FEMA Integration Teams

The EMX program builds on the success of the FEMA Integration Teams, which currently host FEMA staff in nearly 40 state emergency management programs.

This initiative expands the scope by integrating state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency managers into the federal framework, allowing their experiences to be woven into policy and program development.

In 2022 and 2023, FEMA hosted emergency managers from across the country at their headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Notably, an exchange participant from Choctaw Nation contributed to FEMA’s Resilience program, enhancing the approach to Tribal consultations.

Other projects focused on improving the Building Resilient Infrastructures and Communities (BRIC) Direct Technical Assistance, aiming to better serve disadvantaged communities.

Application process and requirements

Emergency managers interested in the EMX program must submit their resume and a nomination letter from their home office.

Further details on requirements and submission information are available on FEMA’s website.

FSJA Comment

The Emergency Manager Exchange program represents a strategic approach by FEMA to enhance disaster management and recovery efforts through collaborative learning and policy development.

By integrating the experiences and insights of local and tribal emergency managers with federal strategies, the program aims to create a more inclusive and effective response to emergencies.

This exchange not only facilitates the sharing of best practices but also ensures that diverse perspectives are considered in the development of national policies and programs.

The focus on including disadvantaged communities in these discussions is particularly noteworthy, as it addresses the need for equitable disaster response and recovery efforts.

Overall, the EMX program underscores the importance of collaborative and inclusive approaches in emergency management, reflecting a commitment to continuous improvement in the field.

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