MGT340 – 4.00 Hours

Currently there are no scheduled classes for this course. However, in some cases a course can be scheduled to meet your organization’s specific needs. For more information about this course or to schedule a class, please contact Emergency Services Training Institute at (866) 878-8900 or to get the latest schedule.

Course Description

The Crisis Leadership and Decision Making seminar is an executive-level presentation for the nation’s senior elected and appointed officials at the city, county, region, territory, tribal, and state levels. Seminar participants discuss the strategic and executive-level issues and challenges related to preparing for and responding to a catastrophic incident. The venue provides an excellent opportunity to share proven strategies and practices and apply lessons-learned from past natural and man-made disasters.

The seminar is a facilitated, free-flowing discussion of the stresses of crisis leadership and decision-making gained from an examination of a Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government case study of a catastrophic disaster. The seminar supports the national priorities and capabilities that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) encourages state and local jurisdictions to establish as articulated in Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8 and subsequent documents and policies, such as the National Preparedness Guidelines.

This seminar uses one of four case studies to examine the dynamics of crisis leadership and decision-making from an elected or senior official’s perspective. The seminar uses the case study to frame the discussion on ways to overcome leadership challenges in planning and responding to a large-scale incident. The final outcome of the seminar is the development of an individual and jurisdiction plan of actions needed to improve preparedness and emergency response.


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Course Completion Requirements

  • In order to effectively participate in the discussion, all attendees should read the case study provided prior to attending the seminar.

Attendance Requirements

To meet attendance requirements, participants must review each training module and complete all required course assignments, activities, quizzes, and/or end of course exam.


  • Planning for Effective Disaster Response
  • Planning process importance
  • Role of the elected and senior official in planning
  • All-hazards based emergency operations plans
  • Plan adequacy, feasibility, and adaptability
  • Leadership & Decision Making During a Crisis
  • Responsibilities of leaders in advance of a crisis
  • Roles and functions of leaders during a crisis
  • Recognizing the Extraordinary; Improvising the Necessary Response
  • Unique circumstances
  • Departure from routine response and behavior
  • Effective adaptation
  • Risks associated with improvisation
  • Complex, Multi-jurisdictional Coordination
  • Crisis complexity
  • Leadership and command responsibilities
  • Transfer/transition of responsibility
  • Friction between organizations, agencies, and jurisdictions
  • Maintaining Scalability
  • Resource requirements
  • Task variety and load
  • Responder capabilities

Suggested Audience

This management level course is designed for senior-elected and appointed officials and other stakeholders who may be called upon to make critical decisions during a natural or man-made catastrophe.  Although intended for an audience of senior officials from a local jurisdiction, it may also include executives from other community entities, both public and private, such as:

  • Directors of local response agencies
  • Department Heads/Chiefs from: emergency management, fire, law, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Hazardous Materials (HazMat), public works, water, public health, health care, governmental administrative disciplines/services
  • Public Information Officers
  • Resident federal agency representatives (FBI, BATF, Secret Service, FEMA, TSA)
  • CEOs of hospitals
  • College and university representatives
  • School district superintendents
  • Airport and port facility managers
  • Department of Defense (DoD) installation commanders and representatives
  • Stadium and sports facility managers and directors of security
  • Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and private-sector organizations

Continuing Education And Professional Credits

Note: Live Online Instructor-Led (webinar) courses are not eligible for TCOLE credit.

  • Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE)

Other Information

This workshop is fully funded through DHS/FEMA and comes at no direct cost to the jurisdiction, and is delivered at a time and place requested by the jurisdiction.

Available Case Studies (from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University):

  • Charting a Course in a Storm: U.S. Postal Service and the Anthrax Crisis
  • Command Performance: County Firefighters Take Charge of the 9/11 Pentagon Emergency
  • “Almost a Worst-Case Scenario”: The Baltimore Tunnel Fire of 2001 (Parts A, B, C)
  • Hurricane Katrina: Preparing for “The Big One” In New Orleans (Part A) and Responding to an “Ultra-Catastrophe” in New Orleans (Part B)

Course size limit

  • 15 – 25 participants


Participants receive a Local Officials All-Hazards Preparedness Executive Handbook.  This reference book contains information on:

  • All-hazards incident preparedness
  • The right questions to ask prior to an incident
  • Working with the media during a crisis
  • The National Response Framework
  • Local Government Partner Guides
  • Emergency Support Functions (ESF) and support annexes
  • The Stafford Act
  • Federal Support in Non-Stafford Act events
  • DoD support of Domestic Incidents.

Government Programs

  • GSA contract number: GS-07F-0357V. GSA customers, to register please contact or call (866) 878-8900. GSA Schedule logo
  • For DHS/FEMA Funded Courses, please contact or call (866) 878-8900

Back to top