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Emergency Management: 4 Questions to Ask

Emergency management and emergency management directors are incredibly important parts of crisis and disaster management in the public safety sector. Public safety encompasses a wide range of industries and roles with one common goal, keeping the public safe from various types of threats. These can be natural or man-made, and emergency management directors are a vital part of managing these situations with regard to public safety. If you are considering working in public safety and want to help assist, teach, motivate and protect others, then working in emergency management could be the perfect role for you. Here are just four questions to ask about emergency management and emergency management directors.

1. What is Emergency Management?

When a natural or man-made crisis or emergency strikes, emergency management is required to help protect the public and deal with the humanitarian elements of the disaster. These crises can include: 

  • Flooding
  • Forest fires
  • Hazardous waste spills 
  • Acts of terror
  • Riots

Within the emergency management organization, there are various specialists and job roles, and one of these is an Emergency Management Director. EMDs can work in many different settings, such as schools, hospitals, state or local governments, or technical services. An EMD will have varied tasks, and their work will see them doing a combination of office and fieldwork. During an emergency, the EMD will be working in the command center, which makes this a good job for those with strong managerial and leadership skills. 

2. What does an EMD do?

As an EMD, you will perform a large range of tasks and have many different responsibilities, which will vary depending on who you are employed by and where you are working, and they range from assessment and prevention to emergency responses and damage assessment after an incident. Some of the responsibilities and tasks may include:

  • Assessing hazards and existing risk factor research
  • Developing risk prevention, emergency response, and public education plans
  • Meeting various individuals and parties to receive recommendations about emergency response plans 
  • Establishing stakeholder relationships
  • Maintaining emergency operation facilities 
  • Organizing emergency response training exercises and programs for volunteers, staff, and responders.
  • Coordinating the emergency response
  • Assessing damage after an incident 
  • Preparing and analyzing these assessments
  • Evaluating the existing procedures following an incident
  • Reviewing and, if necessary, revising local emergency operations plans. 
  • Applying for federal funding 
  • Reporting on how these funds are used.
  • Within the community, coordinating any shared resources and equipment 

These are just a few of the tasks that an EMD may have to undertake, and the full scope of the role will depend upon many factors, such as the location, risks, and incident type. Those who work in emergency management but who are not directors will also have different responsibilities that will be specific to their job role and location.

3. Who can become an EMD? 

Becoming an EMD requires a lot of training to develop your technical knowledge and skills, as well as your personal skills that help you thrive in the role. There are plenty of courses and degrees available to help prepare you to work in public safety and emergency management, such as an emergency management diploma. This is for working professionals who want to build their skills and public safety career and will give you a baseline understanding of the role and the expectations, tasks, and responsibilities that come with it. You may also wish to go one step further and complete a Master’s in Public Safety to deepen your knowledge and help you stand out in a pool of applicants.

In addition to the subject-specific knowledge and training you will need to work in emergency management, there are plenty of personal traits that will also help you, such as:

  • Leadership (especially if you are working in a director role)
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision making
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication 

EMDs and those who work in emergency management are incredibly skilled individuals, and these are just a few of the skills and characteristics that they may possess. You may already have many of these skills yourself, but the appropriate training will teach you how to develop and apply your existing skills to the new situations you may find yourself in when working in emergency management. 

4. How do you become one? 

Emergency management is a highly skilled area to work in, and you will need a combination of practical experience, qualifications, and personal skills in order to work in this field, especially at the EMD level. Public safety encompasses a large number of roles and fields, and emergency management is only one of the many areas you could work in. Planning your academic journey towards working in public safety will help prepare you for the future, and make sure you have the correct skills and qualifications to apply for the jobs that you want.

Generally, the basic requirement for working in emergency management is a Bachelor’s degree in a related area such as public health or business administration. The online emergency management diploma is a good way to use your existing knowledge and skills to move your career in that direction, and the master’s will boost this even more. Online courses are often designed to be studied alongside your current job or to fit in with your existing schedule. This makes them incredibly flexible and means you can continue earning money while you learn. 

Working in emergency management and public safety in general is a challenging role involving high-pressure situations and important decision-making. If you think it could be for you, take a look at some job descriptions and notice the types of skills and experience they require. Planning ahead and understanding the role and tasks will help you decide if it is the right job for you or if your skills would be better suited in another area of public safety. Within emergency management, there are lots of different jobs and roles, and you could use the emergency management diploma to work out where your strengths are and the area in which you would most like to work in going forwards.

Christophe Rude
Christophe Rude
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