The tragic June-July 2013 Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona that took the lives of 19 brave firefighters emphasized the need for emergency management specialists. Arizona has had over 70 notable wildfires since 1990, with an increase in numbers in recent years. In addition, the Grand Canyon State has experienced 23 earthquakes over a 3.5 magnitude, 17 tornadoes and one avalanche, as well as dangerous dust storms, thunderstorms, flash floods and extreme heat. Arizona also has the potential for volcanic activity and is not immune to manmade disasters like terrorist attacks, chemical leaks, oil spills, radiation emergencies or disease epidemics. Preparedness is always the best defense.
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Requirements for Becoming an Emergency Management Specialist
Emergency management specialists work with federal, state and local government and private agencies to prepare for natural or manmade disasters. They develop emergency plans and strategies and educate the public about emergency preparedness.
The following requirements are essential for emergency management jobs:
- A bachelor’s or master’s degree in emergency management; for other majors, certification from the National Association of Safety Preparedness is a plus.
- Approximately three years experience in a field like firefighting, law enforcement or emergency aid work. Internship in an emergency management agency might be considered in lieu of some experience.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills
- Ability to use emergency alert notification systems like two-way radios
- Knowledge of FEMA’s National Incident Management System
How to Apply for an Emergency Management Job in Arizona
In May of 2012, the Arizona state legislature consolidated the hiring processes of 97 state agencies, including the Division of Emergency Management, into Arizona Human Resources (AHR). All candidates for state agency jobs must now apply through that office. Job openings and online applications forms are available at the AHR website.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary for emergency management specialists in Arizona is $71,890.
Emergency Management in Arizona
The Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM), headquartered in Phoenix, is well aware of the state’s potential for natural or manmade disasters and is dedicated to preparing and coordinating emergency services in order to reduce the impact of these disasters on persons and property. ADEM consists of the following sections:
- Emergency Planning. Focuses on wildfire preparedness, including the emergency bulletin system, the education of citizens about ways to protect their homes, evacuation plans, fire restrictions and health concerns. Since Arizona is home to dozens of Native American tribes, ADEM also coordinates emergency management with tribal governments.
- Emergency Response. Its three groups focus on: 1) continuity of operations, 2) the coordination of first responders and multi-agency search and rescue units, and 3) mitigation plans to identify and eliminate hazards and vulnerabilities.
- Disaster Recovery. Coordinates federal, state and local resources to help communities and individuals recover from a disaster.
- Training and Exercises. Provides courses on emergency preparedness to agencies and the public and brings together a wide array of first responders in real-life simulations of emergency situations.
- Hazard Mitigation. Develops strategies to mitigate hazards, including retrofitting structures, maintaining brush control and enforcing building codes.
- Disaster Logistics. Consolidates such crisis logistical services as equipment, telecommunications, transportation, food and medical assistance.