Alaska Emergency Management Careers

Thoughts of man-made disasters in Alaska immediately bring oil spills to mind, like the devastating Exxon-Valdez oil spill that ravaged the pristine Prince William Sound in 1989 and the more recent Prudhoe Bay spill of 2006. However, emergency management specialists know Alaska is also prone to a multitude of natural disasters. In March of 1964, a massive 9.2 magnitude earthquake shook the state. The largest earthquake in Alaska’s history and its ensuing tsunami were responsible for 128 deaths and $311 million in damages.

According to the Alaska Center for the Environment, there were 226 declared natural disasters in Alaska between 1978 and 2007 and scientists warn that global warming is significantly increasing the likelihood of climate-related disasters. The types of natural disasters associated with Alaska include:

  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
  • Wildfires
  • Coastal erosion
  • Ice override (floating ice masses pushing ashore)
  • Permafrost melt (causes road and railway collapses)
  • Avalanches

Sponsored Content

Emergency Management Careers in Alaska

The job of emergency management specialist involves coordinating disaster response procedures, designing emergency plans and providing disaster preparedness training. Most of these professionals work for federal, state or local government agencies but there are also emergency management jobs available within hospitals/medical centers, colleges/universities, oil/gas companies, electric power companies, community relief organizations, etc.

Job titles held by emergency management specialists include:

  • Director of Safety and Emergency Preparedness
  • Emergency Preparedness Manager
  • Emergency Services Program Manager (or Director)
  • Emergency Preparedness Program Specialist
  • Emergency Management System Coordinator (or Director)
  • Emergency Response Team Leader
  • Emergency Planner

Requirements for Becoming an Emergency Management Specialist in Alaska

Becoming an emergency management (EM) specialist in Alaska requires a bachelor’s degree in EM or a degree in public administration with an EM certificate that normally involves about six EM courses. One university (two locations) in Alaska offers a degree in EM and roughly 27 students a year graduate in Alaska with EM degrees.

Applications are only accepted via the online recruitment system “Workplace Alaska.”

Emergency Management Agencies in Alaska

The Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management works with other federal, state and local emergency management groups to develop statewide emergency plans for all types of possible natural and manmade disasters. Based on a foundation of analysis, planning and mitigation, three teams of emergency management specialists focus on the following areas:

  • General emergency planning
  • Hazard mitigation
  • Critical infrastructure

The Anchorage Office of Emergency Management (AOEM) manages an emergency operations center that is the hub of coordination when a disaster requires a multi-agency response. In cooperation with FEMA, AOEM has developed detailed response plans for the most likely causes of disasters (earthquake, wildfire, extreme winter weather). Three teams of 50 trained volunteers are ready to support first responders by meeting human needs during an emergency. Other functions of the AOEM include:

  • Family emergency preparedness classes
  • Disaster supply kits
  • Special preparedness for seniors and disabled persons
  • Pet emergency preparedness

Back to Top