Bergen County, like so many other counties in New Jersey, was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when the barriers along Hackensack River were breached and communities like Moonachie and Little Ferry were ravaged by water surges. Bergen County, given its location in the nation’s northeast, also makes this area of New Jersey prone to harsh winters, including the October snowstorm of 2011, which caused about $5.6 million in damage to Bergen County.
Emergency management professionals are an important component of Bergen County’s emergency response team, as they must coordinate the efforts of local, state, and federal services in times of natural or manmade disasters.
Degree and Experience Requirements
Although education and experience requirements for emergency management professionals often vary between private and public entities, most professionals in this field are best prepared to handle the many facets of a career in emergency management by achieving a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in emergency management or a related field.
Further, it can be expected that most county emergency management jobs require candidates to possess at least 2 years of experience in an emergency management position, whether in the public or private sector.
Emergency Management Certification and Training in Bergen County
Many professionals in this field also choose to seek professional certification, as it demonstrates their commitment to the profession and continuing education. Professional certification is often achieved through:
The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM)
- Associate Emergency Manager (AEM)
- Certified Emergency Manager (CEM)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Advanced Professional Series (APS) certificate
- Professional Development Series (PDS) Certificate
The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management provides FEMA training classes for both APS and PDS certification for the emergency management professionals throughout the region, including Bergen County.
Some of the courses available for Bergen County emergency management professionals include:
- Management and Operations
- Basic Instructional Skills Course
- Warning Coordination
- Incident Command System/Emergency Operations Center Interface
- Emergency Planning
- Hazardous Weather and Flooding Preparedness
- Basic Workshop in Emergency Management
- Exercise Design
Emergency Management Operations in Bergen County: Job Duties of the Emergency Management Coordinator
Bergen County emergency management, which is a division of the Bergen County Police Department within the Department of Public Safety, has municipal emergency operations plans (EOPs), which cover many functions, such as: damage assessment, emergency medical, emergency public information, fire and rescue, social services hazardous materials, and law enforcement.
The County Emergency Management Coordinator, who works under the State Emergency Management Director, is the key professional tasked with declaring a State of Emergency within the county. This professional is responsible for emergency management program administration and program development, ensuring that the County Office of Emergency Management is available at all times and that the county maintains an Emergency Operations Plan.
Other tasks of the Emergency Management Coordinator include:
- Preparing and updating the annual emergency management budget
- Securing financial and technical assistance through state and federal programs
- Keeping accurate records of all emergency management activities within the county
- Developing training programs for emergency response personnel
- Scheduling training courses at the county level
- Establishing an emergency public information system and public education program