Emergency Management professionals tending to an injury - Tulane School of Professional Advancement

A Beginners' Guide to Emergency Management

Every day, countless emergencies occur across the United States. Though not all are as catastrophic as a category five hurricane or a homeland security breach, emergencies of all types must be accounted for and contained to ensure the wellbeing of individuals, organizations, and societies. Skilled in diagnosing, preparing, and recovering a population from various threats, emergency management professionals tackle a wide range of crises and disasters affecting communities across the globe. If you're passionate about public safety against disasters and methods of crisis control, learn more about what you can expect in the field from the experts at Tulane SoPA.

What Is Emergency Management?

An approach to mitigating the devastating impacts of a natural, technological, or manmade disaster, emergency management is a career path that continues to develop and expand in demand across the United States. No matter if emergencies are caused by hurricanes and flooding or technological mishaps and chemical exposures, effective emergency management practices lessen the impact of a disaster by coordinating, utilizing, and managing relevant resources. Such public safety resources that may assist with the devastation following a hazard or emergency might include:

  • Emergency response staff, like firefighters and police officers
  • Emergency response procedures and policies
  • Federal, state, or local officials

The Role of an Emergency Management Professional

Emergency Management professionals at work - Tulane School of Professional Advancement

To understand what a role in emergency management looks like, it can help to first identify what an emergency management professional is not. Someone employed in emergency management is not a police officer, firefighter, EMT, or any other front-line emergency respondent. Instead, an emergency management professional is someone who is responsible for adequately educating communities, organizations, or individuals on how to best anticipate and stay protected across a mix of hazards.

As an emergency management professional, you may work in the government, business, or non-profit sector, where your primary duties will involve using data to develop risk-mitigation frameworks and procedures. Regardless of your role and the industry you work in, your typical crisis control tasks will include:

  • Mitigating risks: When lessening the impact of an emergency, you'll first develop long-term, sustainable activities and strategies designed to reduce and mitigate the risks of a disaster. To start the mitigation process, you'll first need to identify and evaluate all potential crises and their effects on public safety.
  • Preparing for emergencies: After risks for emergencies are identified and evaluated, you'll need to implement activities that raise a community's awareness of the risks and increase a community's ability to respond when confronted with a hazard. In this phase, your role as an emergency management professional involves developing plans of action to take when managing and reducing the impact of the crisis.
  • Responding to crises: Immediately after an emergency impacts a community, emergency management professionals provide direct support to all entities affected. During the response phase, you'll coordinate your community's resources, disseminate crucial information and updates to the public/stakeholders, and look for ways to reduce economic losses.
  • Recovering from disasters: In the aftermath of a disaster or emergency, you'll discover short and long-term plans of action to reinstate the social, political, environmental, and economic aspects harmed by a hazard. In addition, you might draft plans for rebuilding damaged properties and helping individuals recover physically and psychologically from any traumatic experiences.

The Benefits of an Emergency Management Degree

Studying emergency management equips students with the foundation necessary to diagnose and navigate all emergencies ranging from floods to chemical spills. Critical skills that you'll develop in your emergency management program of study include:

  • Disaster planning and preparedness: Necessary to accurately gauge and mitigate risks; being versed in disaster planning and preparedness can help you become more proactive and properly plan for emergencies using the resources available to you.
  • Time-management: Time may be the most important factor in generating prompt preparation and recovery plans when managing the effects of a hazard. As such, developing effective time management skills can make a difference in how smooth the coordinating efforts operate when handling a crisis.
  • Oral and written communication: Depending on the industry you work in, you may need to be in regular communication with a variety of sources, including civilians, government officials, and emergency response teams. Establishing good communication skills can assist you in both drafting the preparation/recovery plans and communicating them to the public.
  • Leadership: As a leading role in navigating crises, understanding the qualities and practices of a trusted leader can help you establish rapport with emergency victims and delegate tasks to emergency personnel.
  • Decision-making: Working in emergency preparation and management requires making difficult decisions for a community, organization, or government while under pressure. When you pursue an emergency management degree, your program will prepare you to assess risks and make mitigation choices in time-sensitive situations.

Career Paths for Those With an Emergency Management Degree

A flexible discipline, obtaining a degree in emergency management, can lead to a diverse range of job positions across government, medical, and education industries. Some of the most common roles an emergency management student can expect to fill are:

  • Operations specialist
  • Emergency management director
  • Safety specialist
  • Business continuity planner
  • Hospital emergency management

At Tulane SoPA, we offer both an online master's program and a variety of graduate certificates in emergency management that can help you build on your crisis management and preparation skills. For more information about the job opportunities afforded by Tulane SoPA's different degree types, request more information today.

Study Emergency Management at Tulane SoPA

Whether you opt for Tulane SoPA's Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Emergency Management or one of our four-course graduate certificates, further your career in crisis control by taking courses in disciplines such as homeland security, emergency administration, and disaster communications. Learn more about the different career paths you can take in emergency management when you apply online today.

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