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Vermont Emergency Management October 2023 Newsletter

VEM News


October, 2023
Volume 17 Issue 10

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Eric Forand Appointed Vermont Emergency Management Director

VEM Director Eric Forand posing in front of the Vermont and United States FlagsVermont Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jennifer Morrison has appointed Eric Forand Director of Vermont Emergency Management. Eric had been serving as Interim Director since June.

“I’m excited to move forward with Eric at the helm of VEM,” Commissioner Morrison said. “He has extensive experience in emergency services in Vermont and can use that insight to inform decisions that will benefit local emergency responders and help the evolution of emergency response in Vermont.”

Forand’s tenure as Interim Director included leadership of the State Emergency Operations Center during this summer’s floods.

“Eric served as Director during this summer’s floods and proved himself as a competent leader,” Governor Phil Scott said. “His guidance of the State Emergency Operations Center through the response and the continued recovery have shown his dedication to Vermont. We’re fortunate Eric has agreed to continue this work.”

Eric joined VEM in September of 2017 and was named Deputy Director in July of 2022. He has managed day to day operations at VEM and worked with communities and partners on VEM issues and initiatives. He also previously served as a firefighter, EMT, and instructor at the Vermont Fire Academy.

“I am excited to continue the work of ensuring the state’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters continues to evolve to address changing hazards,” Forand said. “A critical piece of that will be continuing Vermont Emergency Management’s partnership with local responders and the larger state enterprise in our collective efforts to keep Vermonters safe.”

Vermont Emergency Management is a division of the Department of Public Safety with 35 employees and an annual budget of $3 million. VEM provides assistance to communities and other partners to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to, and recover from natural and man-made threats and hazards to ensure the safety of Vermonters and our visitors.


Governor Scott Requests Federal Disaster Declaration for August 3-5 Flooding

Governor Phil Scott has made a formal request to President Joe Biden for a Major Disaster Declaration to help communities in Addison and Rutland counties recover costs for repair of public infrastructure damage caused by rainfall and severe flooding on August 3-5, 2023.

“For Addison and Rutland counties, the severe storms and flooding from early August compounded the impacts of July flooding and rainfall, overwhelming state and local resources,” said Governor Scott. “Municipal budgets are stretched thin as towns work to recover from these additional storms, and an another disaster declaration is needed to help address infrastructure damage that is not covered by the July disaster declaration.”

If granted, a federal Major Disaster Declaration unlocks Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Program funding to reimburse municipalities for 75% of funds already spent on things like debris removal, road and public building repairs, and staff overtime responding to and cleaning up after the storm.

Federal assessors identified more than $1.2 million in program eligible costs incurred by public entities, exceeding the minimum needed for the state to request a declaration.

Because the incident period for the July declaration closed before the August incidents, a separate declaration was necessary, after the threshold was met. 

The declaration request also seeks funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). That funding can be used to provide 75% reimbursement for projects anywhere in the state that reduce the likelihood of damage to public infrastructure in future disasters.

The request was sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will review and then send to President Biden with a recommendation for a final decision.

October 12 Deadline for Multiple Federal Flood Assistance Programs

October 12th is the application deadline for most federal aid programs tied to the floods that occurred in Vermont from July 7 to 21, 2023.

Communities, businesses, and individuals are eligible for several grant and loan programs. For information on available assistance visit

Specific programs with a deadline of October 12, 2023:

FEMA Individual Assistance
Grants for homeowners and renters who suffered damage to or loss of homes and other property. This includes personal belongings and cars in certain circumstances.
Apply at or by calling 800-621-3362.

Small Business Administration Loans
SBA offers loans at competitive rates for homeowners, businesses, and others to cover flood losses or provide working capital.
Apply at

Public Assistance to Towns
The PA program reimburses communities at least 75% for flood response and rebuilding public infrastructure.
Guidance for cities and towns can be found at 
For more information municipalities can also email

USDA Emergency Watershed Protection Program


VEM Hiring for Three Planner Positions

Vermont Emergency Management is hiring. We are currently looking for candidates to fill three positions in our Planning Section.

Planners coordinates outreach and plan development and provide technical support in planning, data collection and analysis with State partner agencies, utilities, non-governmental entities, and federal partners. The VEM Planning Section is responsible for writing and maintaining the State Emergency Management Plan and associated annexes, including incident-specific annexes and partner annexes for EOC partners.

These positions are required to participate in exercises and drills as well as real world emergencies at the State Emergency Operations Center.

Visit the State of Vermont Human Resources Website to view all three positions.


Vermont Emergency Management Director of the Year: Nick Emlen of Calais

Vermont Emergency Management Director of the Year Nick Emlen posing next to Vermont Public Safety Deputy Director Dan Batsie after receiving his award

Vermont’s Emergency Management Director of the Year for 2023 is Nick Emlen of Calais. Nick was recognized at the Vermont Emergency Preparedness Conference on September 21.

Each year Vermont Emergency Management recognizes an individual who has demonstrated excellence and commitment in service to their town as the Emergency Management Director of the Year. The Emergency Management Director (EMD) is an appointed individual in each town or city who has direct responsibility for the organization, administration, and coordination of local emergency management. This job has become more and more challenging over the years and those who serve as EMDs are vital and much appreciated.

The person who nominated Nick wrote: ‘What makes Nick Emlen worthy of Emergency Management Director of the Year is that he is building a model of emergency management that can function whether or not he is able to be there. He’s pulled together a team of 15 that meet on a regular basis and this team has done lots of work with the July 2023 flood. Outside of the most recently flooding, they are working hard on continuity of operations – including recently acquiring HAM radios to help with communication during long term power outages. This nomination speaks to both operations during the last year, as well as long term planning for the position to not function as a single point of failure.”

Congratulations Nick on being the Vermont Emergency Management Director of the Year for 2023.


Certified Emergency Management Director Recipients

Seventeen individuals were recognized for their completion of the Certified Emergency Management Director program during the Vermont Emergency Preparedness Conference on September 21.

In an effort to provide local emergency management organizations with the basic knowledge to effectively manage local disasters, the state emergency management program developed an Emergency Management Certification Program in 2018. This program is designed for individuals that may work within the local emergency management organization and includes 60-75 hours of blended learning curriculum.

To date, 55 individuals have completed the certifications, including the 17 awarded their certificates at this year’s conference. They include:

The seventeen recipients of Certified Emergency Management Director awards

Jason Allen
Abigail Bartram
David DiBiase
Sunni Eriksen
Michaela Foody
Max Kennedy
Dan Kuzio
John Marcus
Brett Pierce
Ron Pentkowski
Richard Phelan
Nathan Pickard
Heather Rigney
Hillarie Scott
Barry Simays
Laura Werner
David Young



Vermont Emergency Preparedness Conference Presentations On-Line

An individual pouring water on a controlled burn on a displayThe annual Vermont Emergency Preparedness conference took place on September 20 & 21 at the Burke Mountain Resort.

More than 200 responders; local, state, and federal officials; and other partners in emergency response took part in many learning opportunities throughout the two days. Sessons on Continuity of Operations planning, public outreach, Red Cross shelter operations, drone operations during the July floods, and many others were presented.

If you missed the conference, you can still read up on these topics as the presentations have been posted to the VEM website at 

New VEM Northeast Coordinator Sid Pollack

VEM Northeaster EM Coordinator Sid Pollock (on the left)
Sid Pollock (he's the one on the left)

Sid Pollock has joined Vermont Emergency Management as Northeast Regional Coordinator. Sid began his career in public safety

after his military service in the U.S. Navy. He has served as a firefighter and Paramedic in many cities around the U.S. including Colchester, Vermont for the past two years.

Sid has a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University’s Global Leadership in Disaster Response program where he went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences. He is passionate about improving public safety, EMS and Tactical EMS and is excited to begin working with communities across northeastern Vermont to improve their emergency preparedness capabilities and knowledge.

Please feel free to reach out to Sid for planning, training and exercise needs in the northeastern region at 



October 2023

MGT 417: Crisis Management for School-Based Incidents for Key Decision Makers - In Person
Norwich University- Northfield, VT
October 9, 2023, 8:00am- 4:00pm & October 20, 2023, 8:00am- 3:30pm
Registration required Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC)

VT- Alert Manager Training
October 11, 2023, 1:00 p.m.- 2:30 p.m.
Registration required via State Learning Management System:

MGT 417: Crisis Management for School-Based Incidents for Key Decision Makers - In Person
Brattleboro Fire Department
October 19, 2023, 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. & October 20, 2023, 8:00 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
Registration required Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC)

MGT- 484 Nature-Based Solutions for Mitigating Hazards - Virtual
October 24, 2023, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Registration required via University of Hawaii:
Code 69178

November 2023

SEOC Orientation - In Person
DPS – Headquarters- Waterbury
November 14, 2023, 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Prerequisite: IS-100
Must be on the SEOC Roster
Registration required via State Learning Management System:

ICS-200 Prep- ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
VA Medical Center, White River Junction
November 7-8, 2023, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. each day
Prerequisite: IS-100
Registration required via State Learning Management System:

February 2024

SEOC Orientation- In Person
DPS – Headquarters- Waterbury
February 20, 2024, 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Prerequisite: IS-100
Must be on the SEOC Roster
Registration required via State Learning Management System: