Alabama is no stranger to severe storms, including hurricanes and tornadoes. The state was hit by Hurricanes Hannah and Isaac in 2002 and 2012 respectively and the historic city of Mobile was devastated by Hurricane Frederick in 1979.
Tornadoes are far more common in Alabama which has an average of 22 tornadoes a year. Between 1950 and 2012 the state experienced a total of 1,895 tornadoes that killed 715 people and injured over 9,000. Alabamians remember April 25-28 of 2011 as the largest tornado outbreak ever recorded, Winds of up to 210 miles per hour left 247 people dead and caused over $1.5 billion in damage. The torrential rains that often accompany hurricanes and tornadoes cause rivers to rise which can lead to massive flooding. These natural disasters underscore the critical need for emergency management in Alabama.
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The Alabama Emergency Management Agency headquartered in Clanton is the state coordinating agency for disaster preparedness. The job outlook is good for persons interested in emergency management careers. Alabama currently employs roughly 350 emergency management specialists and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that number will increase to 420 by 2018.
Emergency Management Specialists in Alabama
Emergency management involves taking charge of how communities both prevent natural and manmade disasters and deal with them when they occur. The four elements of emergency management are:
- Preparedness – developing disaster response plans in order to prevent or lessen the impact of a disaster. Includes forming evacuation details, training response personnel and educating the public about what to do in an emergency.
- Response – Coordinating all first responders and emergency personnel when a disaster occurs.
- Recovery – Cleaning up and repairing damage after a disaster; striving to return the community to normalcy.
- Mitigation – Analyzing how the disaster occurred and how it was handled in order to improve preparedness for the next emergency situation.
Requirements for a Career in Emergency Management
The emergency management specialist jobs in Alabama require at least a bachelor’s degree. There are three schools in Alabama that offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in emergency management and approximately 95 students graduate in this field each year. Courses include such subjects as:
- Emergency/disaster management phases
- Risk assessment
- Disaster prevention
- Consequence management
General qualifications for emergency management careers in Alabama are:
- At least a bachelor’s degree
- Valid Alabama driver’s license
- Six or more years experience in disaster relief, at least two in a supervisory capacity
- Willingness to travel around the state
How to Apply for an Emergency Management Job in Alabama
Applications can be found at www.personnel.alabama.gov or obtained from State of Alabama Personnel Office, 64 N. Union St., (P.O. Box 304100), Montgomery, AL 36130-4100; tel: 334/242-3389. Mail the completed application to this address.
The average annual salary for an emergency manager in Alabama is $53,230. Benefits offered to employees of the state of Alabama include health/dental plan, paid vacation and sick leave, retirement plan.