FIU students get hands-on experience in large-scale disaster response

MIAMI, June 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — FIU graduate students and professionals from participating agencies and nongovernmental organizations, work together alongside elected officials to respond to a large-scale disaster during FIU’s 9th annual multi-day disaster field course. The field course, offered through FIU’s Academy for International Disaster Preparedness (AIDP), is taking place at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus on June 7 and 8.

“This exercise is the linchpin of our program and critical to our students graduating prepared to lead in a disaster scenario,” said Javier I. Marques, Executive Director for AIDP and Vice President for Operations and Safety and Chief of Staff. “We appreciate our partners with whom we train and form bonds of trust that are essential in navigating the uncertainty that comes with disasters.”

With NOAA National Weather Service forecasters predicting an above average 2024 hurricane season, the demand for a well-prepared disaster management workforce that can meet the needs of affected communities has never been greater.

Florida International University is a leader in operations-based disaster response, demonstrated here today during their full-scale exercise, which rises to the level of the highest standard in Florida, if not the U.S.,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management Executive Director Kevin Guthrie, who attended the exercise and spoke to students. “These exercises are where people get their boots dirty, and they are incredibly important to not only practice onsite incident management, but also improve everyone’s understanding of the intricacies involved in the response and recovery process.”

The field course is part of FIU’s Master of Arts in Disaster Management, a 30-credit graduate program focusing on disaster preparedness, emergency management and humanitarian assistance/coordination. The program’s curriculum is interdisciplinary and designed to improve the skills and theoretical base of disaster practitioners and those interested in entering the field of disaster management.

“This program has provided me with the tools that I needed in my toolbox to help me get out there and be a better responder,” said Michael Stacks, an FIU student participating in the field course. “We have the knowledge and the skills, it’s a matter of applying them.”

Participating agencies and organizations include: Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM), Florida State Guard (FSG), Baptist Health South Florida, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR), City of Miami Fire Rescue/Emergency Management/USAR FL – TF-2, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), United States Coast Guard (USCG), Miami-Dade County Emergency Management (OEM), Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD), Village of Key Biscayne Fire Rescue, City of Miami Beach Fire Rescue, U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Food for the Poor (FFTP), DHL, AT&T, Global Empowerment Mission (GEM), Seminole Office of Emergency Management, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, FIU Parking and Transportation, FIU Police Department and others.

To read more, visit FIU News.

Media Contact:
Stephanie Rendon
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SOURCE Florida International University

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