Mobile County Emergency Management Agency (MCEMA) is responsible for planning disaster preparedness, response, and recovery strategies. This county rests on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and is often a target for hurricanes that can ravage the region. Following the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi and Louisiana, MCEMA modified their hurricane evacuation plan. Prior to Katrina, residents were permitted to evacuate to local shelters only a few miles away from the water, but the impact of hurricanes like Katrina clearly demonstrated that their destructive power required more drastic measures. Since then, the MCEMA has required that all Mobile County residents evacuate to an inland county in the presence of a Category 3 hurricane.
MCEMA has thoroughly researched the logistics of an evacuation plan. Almost 13,400 residents of the county have no automobile and would require some form of transportation assistance. In order to facilitate evacuation, MCEMA has implemented a WAVE Transit System that would transport residents from collection points throughout the county. Category 1 or 2 storms would permit residents to shelter in refuges within the county, while stronger storms would require busing to shelters further inland.
Search and Rescue
In the wake of a natural disaster, victims may require rescue from acute weather conditions like flooded homes, trapped debris, or collapsed structures. Victims may also require food or water if they are without transportation or communication services. MCEMA works with emergency first responders, the National Guard, community volunteers, Coast Guard and Urban Search and Rescue teams to find and rescue these victims.
Qualifications to Become an Emergency Management Professional in Mobile County, Alabama
Construction companies are employers of emergency management professionals who provide business continuity planning as well as disaster mitigation strategies for projects that could collapse during a natural disaster. In a recent job description for a Site Safety and Health Officer by NANA Regional Corporation, the minimum qualifications for this position included:
- Have bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or similar field
- At least five years of experience providing safety expertise on construction projects
- OSHA 500 trainer with OSHA 30 Hour Certificate
- Certified Hazwoper
- Certified in first aid and CPR
- Certified Safety Professional preferred
Many of the emergency management professionals in Mobile County receive training through their employers. First responders like emergency medical technicians are required to complete training through licensed schools and pass a certification exam. Law enforcement officers must complete a 12-week training program prior to active service.
EM professionals who are involved in developing disaster or incident plans may also receive specialized training from state and federal agencies. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency and the federal Emergency Management Institute offer courses and training programs designed to provide theoretical and practical instruction of a host of emergency management issues. These courses may be offered throughout the year at state facilities, or they can be accessed online.