Emergency Management Careers in Maricopa County, Arizona

Maricopa County has more 3 million residents distributed over 9,000 square miles, which is greater than the size of seven states.  This enormous population presents numerous challenges for emergency management programs in the county.  Not only are almost half the state’s residents found in this county, which would require a well-organized and robust evacuation plan in the case of a catastrophic disaster, but there are also urban and natural risk factors including the presence of a nuclear power facility and an active volcano.

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How to Become an Emergency Management Specialist in Maricopa County, Arizona

Maricopa County government sponsors many of the emergency management jobs found in Maricopa County, Arizona.  In a recent job posting, the county requested applicants for an Environmental Health Specialist position have the following qualifications:

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, chemistry, entomology, environmental health, food science or related subject with a minimum of 30 semester hours in natural , applied or physical science
  • Registered sanitarian with good standing for the Arizona Department of Health Services
  • Knowledge of regulations, principles and practices regarding public and environmental health
  • Ability to analyze public health conditions and make reports or recommendations
  • Ability to effectively communicate and interact with business proprietors and the general public
  • Possession of a valid Arizona driver’s license and access to transportation
  • Ability to monitor, test and analyze materials
  • Proficiency in technical report writing
  • Ability to carry 30 pounds for at least 50 feet

Emergency management professionals may find training for their profession from a number of sources.  First responders like fire, EMS or law enforcement often receive training from state sanctioned academies or licensing organizations.  The Arizona Division of Emergency Management also offers a wide variety of courses that are sponsored by federal agencies like the Emergency Management Institute.  These include:

  • Incident management
  • Disaster logistics
  • Service to disaster victims
  • Continuity programs
  • Public Disaster communications
  • Hazard mitigation
  • Integrated preparedness
  • Operational planning

Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management

The Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management (MCDEM) is in charge of preparing for any environmental or manmade disasters.  The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station is found just outside of Phoenix, and could threaten the lives of millions of nearby residents if the safeguards should fail. MCDEM has worked closely with public officials, facility managers and state emergency management planners to develop an Emergency Response Plan should radioactive material ever be released. This includes stockpiling of potassium iodide for public distribution, a siren warning system and evacuation strategies for affected communities.

MCDEM is also responsible for supervising the safe transport of hazardous materials.  If there is a spill, MCDEM have personnel who can assist public or private organizations tasked with cleaning up the site and investigating the circumstances leading to the spill.  Major spills that present a risk to the general public may be managed through the Maricopa County Emergency Operations Center.

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