Emergency Management team members earn credentials

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – One member of the Division of Public Safety’s emergency management team received two new professional credentials this month, and two other members’ credentials were reaffirmed.

The official recognition took place earlier this month at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Training Summit in the state capital, and it means that the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is working within the highest professional standards to prepare for campus emergencies.

Emergency Management Training Coordinator Peyton Childress earned her Illinois Professional Emergency Manager (IPEM) certification for the first time after joining the Department of Emergency Management in 2020. She was also awarded for completing the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s Professional Development Series (PDS).

To receive IPEM status, planners must spend a lot of time in the classroom and complete a number of reports. The achievement takes several years to complete and puts Childress in a group of experts throughout the state.

“Peyton’s achievement demonstrates her professionalism and expertise in emergency planning,” said Brian Brauer, Executive Director of Emergency Management for the Division of Public Safety. “It shows that she is willing to put in the extra time and effort to make sure our campus is prepared for emergencies.”

Already in that group of experts are her Division of Public Safety colleagues, Protection of Minors Compliance Specialist Stephanie Vogelsang and Assistant Director of Emergency Management Sherry Wooten, who were also recognized at the training summit. Vogelsang and Wooten were previously certified and received recertification this year. IPEM status requires recertification every three years.

The Department of Emergency Management coordinates emergency preparedness and ongoing training to ensure that the campus is ready for natural or man-made disasters it may face – including things like severe weather, pandemics, hazardous material situations, active shooters and a host of other scenarios.

Emergency planners ensure that loss of life and property in those situations will be minimized and that the core functions of the university can continue.

“The training our staff completes standardizes what we do and adds a high level of credibility to what we do,” Brauer said. “It is important that we apply best practices to emergency management on our campus because it could quite literally save lives when we are most in need of their expertise.”