Five Free FEMA Training Modules I Recommend for K-12 School Principals

University leadership programs may offer crisis courses based on the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards, but the level of specificity and fidelity to these standards depends on the particular university and instructor. Because of the deviation in presentation of ISLLC standards, some educational leaders may have little to no exposure to crisis management in their preparation program.

The government has recently made available several high-quality school safety guides and training modules for school administrators and school employees.  I recommend the following five no cost courses available online from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  I have completed these courses – each taking about 1-2 hours, and found the content and format very user-friendly and applicable to someone in the role of leading a school.  Each course, although unknown to many administrators, has numerous downloadable modules developed in layman’s terminology.  I further encourage school administrative teams to periodically devote an administrative team meeting to collectively completing any of the following courses.  FEMA emails a PDF certificate is emailed to each person who passes the end-of-course examination.

IS-1.A: Emergency Manager: An Orientation to the Position

IS-100.SCA: Introduction to the Incident Command System for Schools

IS-2001: Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA)

IS-366: Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters

IS-901: Active Shooter: What You Can Do


Council of Chief State School Officers (2008a). Educational leadership policy standards: ISLLC 2008, as adopted by the National Policy Board for Educational Administration. Retrieved from _Standards_2008.pdf

FEMA Independent Study Coures