Former SE instructor, alum receives high honor

Rachel Nutter, Deputy Director of Planning with Choctaw Nation Emergency Management, has earned her Certified Emergency Manager award. Photo: Choctaw Nation.

Choctaw Nation release

DURANT – When Jeff Hansen, Director of the Office of Emergency Management for the Choctaw Nation, received his Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) award, in 2015, he said that he wanted to have the best trained team possible.

This week, Emergency Management staff member Rachel Nutter received that same level of achievement.

On Wednesday Oct. 18, Hansen announced, “Rachel serves as the Deputy Director of Planning and has recently accomplished a very significant milestone in her career. She has completed all requirements and has been awarded the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) credential from the International Association of Emergency Managers.”

The CEM designation is the highest honor of professional achievement available from the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). Nutter is one of only nine to hold the credential in the State of Oklahoma.

According to the IAEM, Nutter was approved by the Certification Commission during the October 2017 review meeting to receive the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) credential. IAEM has in its membership more than 9,000 emergency managers representing professionals whose goals are saving lives and protecting property and the environment during emergencies and disasters. Of the 9,000 members there are currently around 1,800 individuals in the entire world that hold this credential. 

For this recognition, an individual must have obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher, pass a 100-question test, possess three or more years in the field of emergency management, complete 200 hours of training in both general and emergency management, and complete six specific professional contributions to the industry. The application then goes before a board of industry peers for review.

She passed the final hurdle last week – her last exam that was originally slated for September. The delay was due to Nutter’s deployment to assist in Key West, Florida, after Hurricane Irma. She was assigned to the Emergency Operations Center for three weeks where she dealt with planning for response and recovery and documentation for FEMA.

While the area was lucky in terms of limited fatalities, there was considerable debris to deal with, along with a lack of drinking water, no utilities, and a non-working sewer system.

The trip to Florida was far from Nutter’s first deployment.  “I’ve been deploying for 20 years,” Nutter said, “including to Hurricane Katrina.”

She said her year-long effort came, “from a personal desire to gain the highest credential I could.”

“I am very proud of Rachel and want to congratulate her for accomplishing such a difficult credential,” Hansen said. “Well done and thank you for your continued dedication to the Choctaw Nation and our people.”

Nutter is an alum of Southeastern Oklahoma State University and taught in the university for 10 years and was the Coordinator of the Aquatics Department. She has also served as  the branch lead for the American Red Cross in Bryan County.

Nutter will receive her CEM diploma at the International Association of Emergency Managers 65thAnnual Conference taking place in Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 10-15, 2017.

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