An emergency management operations process specialist is a professional who can work with many stakeholders in a community that can be affected by natural disasters, terrorist events, or in situations of mass infectious diseases. These specialists can be called upon to interface with emergency responders, IT professionals, hospitals, schools, engineers, large corporations, the general public, and volunteers to emergency events. They are called upon to work in preparation for such events, coordinating and training all of the stakeholders as well as work during the disaster events themselves. They can work for counties, states, the federal government, and hospitals. They help to oversee the maintenance of the emergency centers, vehicles, equipment and communications that are necessary for quick and adequate response to disaster events.
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A Good Field for Former First Responders
Sometimes emergency medical technicians, firefighters, police and former military officers make the transition to work in the emergency management field because their backgrounds provide them the disposition and training in responding to emergencies and in using communications equipment and emergency vehicles. They also have knowledge of the same protocols found in emergency coordination.
The Need for a Degree
According to the ezine, Emergency Management, a publication dedicated to providing news and information to professionals in the field, candidates who desire to work in the emergency management field should first get their bachelors in emergency management. An emergency management degree will likely be required in the field in order to gain entry-level employment.
Just having a degree, though, does not ensure employment, even though, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the field is growing and is expected to continue to grow with the number of natural disasters occurring. The current problem is that there are not enough highly qualified people who have the skills to wear the many hats the job requires. Candidates in the emergency management field are also required to have experience. For some, this may be in responding to disasters as a volunteer as they are attending school. This provides the candidate with experience and contacts to help them get a foot in the door with prospective employers.
Specific tasks of an emergency management operations process specialist involve developing and implementing training with multiple stakeholders; ensuring the safety of infrastructure, like roads, bridges, water and electrical supplies; maintaining the 24/7 operations of the emergency response center; working with programmers to develop an information management and coordination system; creating protocols and means of communication in an emergency management center that allow for communication with all stakeholders; and creating reference materials. It is clear that this profession requires knowledge of many diverse types of skills.
The Degree Program
Based on the need for emergency response professionals to have so many skills, emergency management degrees tend to have diverse coursework. Such courses include information technology courses; courses in writing; sociology; public speaking; emergency planning, prevention, and mitigation; management of personnel and the operations center; and disaster response.
The work of an emergency management operations process specialist is demanding, with hours that are above and beyond a 9 to 5 job, since it involves prevention and response to disasters and emergencies. The skill set required is extensive. Anyone considering this growing field must realize it is competitive and that they will need an emergency management degree as well as experience in order to break into the field.