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IUPUI Director Earns Homeland Security Award for Emergency Management Education

Kevin Mickey
Kevin Mickey


November 21, 2011

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The nation’s lead emergency management and preparedness agency has recognized a director at The Polis Center on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus as one of the best at what he does: teaching others how to prepare for, protect against, and recover from various hazards and disasters.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency— now part of the Department of Homeland Security since 2003 — recently presented its “Best Adaptation/Use of Hazus in Education” award to Kevin Mickey in recognition of the pivotal role he has played in both teaching and developing FEMA’s emergency management education program known as Hazus-MH.

“The award recognizes the best of the Hazus field,” Hazus Program Manager Eric Berman said. “Kevin continually goes above and beyond to provide educational opportunities for Hazus users. He has integrated Hazus into curriculum and provided ongoing support to the Virtual Hazus Campus at Esri.”

Hazus-MH is a GIS-based software tool that communities and agencies can use to calculate economic and social loss estimates and other impacts of natural hazards, particularly floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. Uses include relief planning before and during disasters.

“We have taken the Hazus-MH program and (integrated) educational concepts into it,” said Mickey, who is director for professional education and outreach for The Polis Center, part of the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Mickey is primarily responsible for The Polis Center’s work in creating a FEMA certification program that includes a series of nine, 3½-day courses built around the application of Hazus-MH.

As for the award, “I don’t look at this as merely a personal achievement. It is recognition of the value that our university and The Polis Center have brought to the emergency management community,” Mickey said.

The FEMA certification “courses provide instruction in all steps of the loss estimation process, from inventory verification and improvement to running a loss analysis, and discuss how to use Hazus results for comprehensive planning, response and recovery activities; data management; and useful GIS concepts,” according to the Hazus website.

“The work of our colleague Kevin Mickey and The Polis Center is extremely valuable to communities here in Indiana and throughout the United States,” said William Blomquist, dean of Liberal Arts. “This recognition by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security highlights the kind of translational research that our school and the entire IUPUI campus have made a priority.”

Mickey and his Polis Center colleagues also developed FEMA’s virtual courses for emergency management. “We built this from the ground up for FEMA,” Mickey said of the online program that enrolled 1,500 people in its 15 courses during the first seven months of 2011.

FEMA honored Mickey during its fifth annual Hazus Conference in Seattle in August. The annual conference is the premier risk assessment conference for GIS specialists, emergency managers, geologists, state/local planners, educators and private entities that are using Hazus for decision-making and response planning.

Mickey began his career at IUPUI in 1990 as a manager of cartographic information services under the dean of the School of Liberal Arts. In addition to his current work at The Polis Center, Mickey is an adjunct assistant professor at Loma Linda University in California, where he teaches emergency management courses once or twice a year.