An emergency management director designs emergency response plans and procedures to respond to emergencies such as natural disasters. They often work in coordination with government agencies, public safety officials, nonprofit organizations, and elected officials and help lead the response during and after emergencies.
Watch a video to learn what an emergency management director does.
How to Become an Emergency Management Director
Emergency management directors typically require a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, emergency management, public administration, or public health. If one works in the private sector in the area of business continuity management the employer may desire the degree in computer science, information systems administration, or other (IT) information technology field.
It is possible for a high school graduate with extensive work experience in emergency management to be hired by a smaller municipality. Work experience with years spent in emergency management, fire safety, or law enforcement is normally a requirement for any applicant for an emergency management director. In addition, some states require directors to have a certification within a certain time frame after employment.
Job Description of an Emergency Management Director
The duties of an emergency management director is to develop procedures and plans to respond to natural disasters or other emergencies in order to minimize risk to people and property. They meet with elected officials, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, public safety officials, and the general public to get recommendations for emergency response plans and organize training programs and exercises for volunteers, staff, and other respondents.
These directors must analyze resources, equipment, and staff available to respond to emergencies and may need to revise plans or gather resources from other communities or states as well as coordinate with police departments, fire, emergency medical service, and/or public works agencies. A director would also apply for federal funding for emergency management planning, responses and recovery, and report on the use of funds allocated.
In the event of an emergency, directors maintain a command center to monitor and manage the emergency operations. After an emergency they must assess damage to their community and coordinate receiving assistance and supplies if necessary. Most emergency management directors work for local or state governments, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, or private companies.
Emergency Management Director Career Video Transcript
Natural disasters can cause a lot of mayhem, but with careful planning, emergency management directors can make them a little less, well, disastrous. Along with their partners in public safety and other agencies, they respond quickly to emergencies, from hurricanes and floods to hazardous spills or hostage situations, working to restore safety and order.
Emergency management directors minimize risk throughout the year by assessing hazards and making necessary preparations. They know that after a natural disaster, resources may be scarce, so they develop plans in advance to share resources, expertise, and equipment with the broader community to ensure that everyone has the tools to survive and recover.
These directors design programs to help staff, first responders, and volunteers get ready to face whatever challenges may crop up in an emergency, and to minimize risk to people and property. After a disaster, they coordinate damage assessments. They also obtain funding to maintain and upgrade shelter spaces and pay for preparations.
The work is full-time, with considerable overtime during emergencies. Entry-level requirements range from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree in public administration or a related field, but the most important thing is extensive experience. Certifications are also available.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Emergency Management Directors.
National Center for O*NET Development. 11-9161.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.