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What does an Emergency Management Specialist do?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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An emergency management specialist ensures that both natural and man-made disasters are adequately prepared for and that the resulting damage is quickly assessed and remedied. She is customarily required to be cognizant of the best disaster response options and have plans in place to efficiently implement effective crisis management plans. A significant part of her job is to train the people in her scope of responsibility to act reasonably and in the best interests of everyone involved. She may be employed by a company, a government or as a community or regional emergency specialist.

The way an emergency management specialist responds to a disaster is highly dependent upon the source of the disaster and the level of damage it has caused. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods or hurricanes, demand actions and solutions vastly different from those caused by warfare. Spills of toxic or hazardous materials or nuclear power plant malfunctions require still different approaches to minimize negative effects.

To be successful in this position requires good teamwork and great communication skills. An emergency management specialist normally works closely with fire and police departments as well as local hospitals in developing plans that involve the focus and cooperation of different agencies. Clearly defined objectives followed without distraction by all involved parties generally improve the success of recovery efforts.

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Before proposing or implementing solid emergency preparedness plans, a specialist in this field normally conducts extensive research to determine which approaches have been most successful in real-life situations. The models she conventionally uses for reference have similar size populations, comparable shelters and similar medical facility resources. She often arranges public speaking venues for disaster specialists to advise communities on the best approaches to disasters and answer the questions of residents.

A person in this position is normally required to prepare reports reflecting any changes in local and regional emergency response plans. If major chains of commands are altered or designated shelter locations changed, she is normally required to make sure key community leaders are immediately informed. She is also typically expected to receive affirmations from different support agencies guaranteeing the availability and timely maintenance of their tools and resources.

Maintaining composure in the face of catastrophes and being able to calm people in various states of panic are key personality traits for an emergency management specialist. As she is often the first point of contact in disastrous situations, her serene demeanor is essential to lead others in rescue efforts. Organizational skills are also an important part of her job.

No specific educational requirements are necessary for this position. Solid background and experience in health care, economic or environmental planning are strongly preferred. Familiarity with triage procedures or emergency response plans is an asset for an applicant for this job.

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