OCEAN CITY — Nearly 75 employees from the Town of Ocean City and several allied agencies recently returned from a training opportunity of a lifetime.

The prestigious Integrated Emergency Management Course, which is hosted by The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), offered select participants the chance to take part in training that most communities nationwide will never have the privilege of experiencing.

The FEMA funded training took participants through several phases of the emergency management process, including executing plans, implementing policies and developing procedures to protect life and property during simulated disaster situations.

“This training opportunity was a rare opportunity for Town of Ocean City employees and our allied agencies to practice working together during a disaster situation,” said Joseph Theobald, Director of Emergency Services for the Town of Ocean City. “FEMA tailored the training to fit our community, which helped us test our community emergency plans, identify where we need to improve and clarify our roles and responsibilities in the event of a disaster.”

The community specific training challenged participants to use new ideas, skills, abilities and their own knowledge and experience to rehearse real-life roles in a realistic emergency situation. The training, which was held from Feb. 3-8 in Emmitsburg, Md., at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute, included members of the City Council, department directors, management and essential personnel, as well as employees from partnering agencies such as the Maryland State Police, the Coast Guard and several more.

“This experience will not only benefit the employees who attended, but will benefit the community as a whole,” Theobald said. “We have a responsibility to prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate disaster. This training opportunity provided us an exceptional opportunity to continue our high standard of readiness and ability to function effectively for the Ocean City community in a time of crisis.”