November 6, 2014

Emergency Management: Where to get training and experience?

After the horrific incidents in the United States on September 11, 2001 and the deadly destruction left behind in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, emergency management became a primary focus in the homeland security arena. Is this just another buzzword? 

emergency management security checks matter posterNo, emergency management is not just another buzzword loosely thrown around. The two mentioned events were catalyst to major US Government reform and legislation strengthening emergency management requirements from federal to local levels.

What is emergency management?
Emergency management deals with the management of risk to protect life, minimize property loss, and limit environment damage. According to the Maine Emergency Management Agency's website, its mission is to protect "by coordinating and integrating all activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the capability to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from threatened or actual natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other man-made disasters." (2008) At the basis of emergency management, it looks at protecting vital assets from a list of  varied threats and hazards that could likely strike, which sounds very similar to the primary purpose of security. Because of this connection, it is only natural that emergency management and security go hand and hand and become intertwined. The five pillars of emergency management (prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery) often blend over to the principles of security (deter, detect, delay, and respond).

Within the past few years, more and more I see multiple security officer job announcements requiring some type emergency management background. This will likely to continue as businesses and government agencies look to streamline and reduce overhead expenses. If you are in the security field, it would be to your advantage to look at expanding your emergency management knowledge if you have not already. I highly encourage it.

Training opportunities. 
There are various of college and for-profit institutions offering emergency management training and certification, but paying for classes is not always necessary. Education does not always require money. If you already have a rather extensive security background, you may be able to expand your knowledge with the free online courses offered below. 
Experience
Where can you gain Emergency Management (EM) experience to go along with your training? Volunteering for the Red Cross provides a great opportunity for you to gain worthwhile experience while helping out and preparing your community. It sounds like a great win-win to me! Volunteer opportunities are a way to freely gain valuable experience to easily help boost your job resume.  Check out the Red Cross' website at http://www.redcross.org/support/volunteer to learn how you can connect to find valuable volunteer opportunities in your local area. This is the route I am taking in trying to expand my experience and to professionally develop myself. Since my current position will not provide me the opportunity, I looked to help out my local Red Cross chapter, which happened to be looking at revamping their disaster recovery and emergency management program. They are very thankful for any amount of time I give and I get to apply newly learned emergency management principles.  

References:
Emergency Management Institute (2013). IS-1.A: Emergency manager: An orientation to the position. Federal Emergency Management Agency. Retrieved from http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/courseOverview.aspx?code=IS-1.a

Maine Emergency Management Agency (2008) What is emergency management? Retrieved from https://www1.maine.gov/mema/about/mema_emdef.shtml 

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