Anchorage has had its share of natural disasters, especially earthquakes. Alaska’s largest city is more than twice as likely to have a strong earthquake as the rest of Alaska and more than three times more likely than the U.S. as a whole. It had 56 historical earthquakes (higher than 3.5) before the year 2000 and was at the center of the magnitude 9.2 “Great Alaska Earthquake” of 1964 that killed 143 people, injured countless others, demolished much of Anchorage and caused many landslides and a massive tsunami. More recently, Anchorage experienced a 5.8 quake on December 2, 2012 and a 4.4 shake on June 27, 2013.
Anchorage is also prone to serious snow storms. On March 17, 2002, 24 inches of snow fell within 24 hours, bringing normal business to a sudden halt. However, that was nowhere near the record winter of 1954-55 when the city was blanketed with 132 inches of snow. The long winters can also bring dangerously cold temperatures. Other potential natural hazards include tsunamis and volcanoes. The 1992 eruption of Mt. Spurr, located 78 miles from Anchorage, deposited ash all over the city.
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Requirements for an Emergency Management Career in Anchorage, AK
An entry-level position as an emergency management specialist requires a bachelor’s degree in emergency management or a degree in public administration (or a related subject) and a certificate in emergency management. Paid or volunteer experience in an emergency management/emergency services agency is recommended. A master’s degree is preferred for supervisory positions. There is one university in Anchorage with a program in emergency management. Anchorage residents can also earn an emergency management degree from several accredited online colleges/universities.
Job titles for emergency management specialists include:
- Emergency Management Coordinator
- Emergency Services Program Manager
- Director of Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- Emergency Preparedness Program Specialist
- Emergency System Coordinator
- Emergency Response Team Leader
- Emergency Planner
How to Apply for a Job with the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management
Open jobs with the city are listed on the Municipality of Anchorage Employee Relations website. If a position is not listed, persons can request to be notified when the opening occurs. Additional information about paid or volunteer work can be obtained by calling the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management at 907/343-1400. Emergency management specialists in Anchorage earn an average annual salary of $50,000.
The Management of Emergencies and Disasters in Anchorage, Alaska
The stated mission of the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is “to protect the life and property, and to ensure the safety, health and welfare of the citizens of Anchorage.” Functions of the Anchorage OEM include:
- Maintain the Emergency Operations Center which is the coordination site when an emergency/disaster requires a multi-agency response.
- Prepare, update and implement a mitigation plan for all types of hazards.
- Offer family emergency preparedness classes.
- Provide disaster supply kits.
- Ensure special preparedness strategies for seniors and the disabled.
- Create and implement a strategy for dealing with pets in an emergency.
- Train Emergency Operations Response Teams – teams of 50 volunteers who work on rotating 12-hour shifts to assist the incident commander during an emergency or disaster in Anchorage. Volunteers are required to take a minimum of two FEMA classes in emergency management.