History of Fema

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In 1979, President Jimmy Carter formed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by consolidating several government organizations. That same year Congress appropriated funds to transfer the Civil Defense Staff College (CDSC) and United States Fire Administration (USFA) and National Fire Academy (NFA) into FEMA.

The Civil Defense Program (CDP) had been established in 1947 under the Department of Defense. Training was first offered under this authority in the spring of 1951 at three federal facilities. In 1954, CDSC was founded in Battle Creek, Michigan, as a national adult resident training center under CDP to administer the civil defense training program. At the time of transfer to FEMA, the CDSC was re-designated as the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) to reflect its new and significantly broader mission to train and educate the nation’s emergency management community.

In June of 1809, Elizabeth Bayley Seton (later canonized as the first American Saint) had arrived in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and established the first parochial school for girls in the United States. Over the years, that school grew to include Saint Joseph College, a four-year liberal arts college for women. In 1973, Saint Joseph College closed its doors and merged its students and faculty with Mount Saint Mary’s University, formerly a liberal arts men’s college located two miles south on highway U.S. 15.

Saint Joseph College facilities were purchased by FEMA in 1979 with funding from Congress for the specific purpose of housing EMI, USFA, and NFA in suitable facilities. Since 1979, EMI continues to share the 107-acre campus with USFA and NFA. Collectively the campus is designated the National Emergency Training Center (NETC). CDSC funded its move and the major renovation needed to open required buildings for EMI on this campus. During transition, EMI held classes in temporary facilities until its renovations were completed and officially opened its doors on the new...
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