What does an Emergency Services Director do?

Emergency directors may oversee local first responders.
An emergency services director may dispatch medical personnel to aid people having an episode.
Emergency services directors come up with plans to deal with severe winter weather.
Disaster drills may help people prepare for volcanic eruptions.
The emergency services director is in charge of teams responding to a natural disaster.
Many people rely on emergency services directors during catastrophic events, such as floods.
An emergency services director may host training simulations to prepare personnel for disasters.
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  • Written By: Daphne Mallory
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2015
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The emergency services director has to plan and organize local emergency management services. The director has to manage and operate the Emergency Operations Center, Office of Emergency Services, or a similar office, which includes maintaining the agency’s policies and procedures. The director also has to draft a budget to fund the center’s ability to carry out the emergency operations plan for the applicable jurisdiction. Supervising employees and training them to follow communication procedures and implement emergency services is a major aspect of the emergency services director's duties. The director also has to coordinate with various local and state entities, such as the Department of Emergency Management, to ensure that the emergency management program in place is effective and can be properly administered during emergencies.

There are many areas related to emergency services that the emergency services director must prepare for and prepare employees to respond to. Preparation often involves participation in drills, conducting seminars for employees and local officials, and attending training to keep up with national and regional legislation that impact the director’s duties and responsibilities. Some of these areas include flooding, hazardous chemical incidents, and acts of terrorism. The director has to oversee the Emergency Operations Center’s involvement in responding to these emergencies and ensure that the funding and tools are in place to be effective. After each emergency, the director may make recommendations for improving standards and the current emergency operations plan.


The emergency services director job description does not often overlap with the duties of fire and law enforcement workers. Those workers are charged with providing aid to citizens when there’s an emergency, but the director is responsible for preparedness planning and mitigation of the effects of the emergency. The director also coordinates with officials from outside departments, but is often limited to what she is responsible for in relation to emergency services. For example, the director may alert the public to an impending danger and coordinate with fire and law enforcement to ensure that they are ready to respond. The director often does not supervise the activities of those employees, but has to implement an emergency operations plan to mitigate the damages to the public at large.

Job candidates for this position often have administrative and technical experience, including working in the emergency services field. Individuals who want to work as an emergency services director are also often required to have knowledge of disaster planning, survival procedures, and resource requirements for emergencies. They also need prior understanding of regional and national standards for emergency services.


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