Tucson, Arizona’s idyllic geographic location between five mountain ranges makes the city relatively safe from natural disasters. Nonetheless, Mother Nature occasionally frowns on Tucson, as on October 10, 1983, when heavy rains caused the city’s Santa Cruz and Rillito Rivers to overflow with a four-foot-high wall of water. The flood caused 10 deaths and extensive damage, including a newly constructed office building that was swept downstream.
During the 60 years between 1950 and 2010, Tucson had 249 other floods, 448 violent thunderstorms, 144 hail storms, nine extreme winter storms, 28 heavy snow incidents, three dust storms and two tornadoes. Like all cities, Tucson is also a potential target for manmade disasters. On January 8, 2011, a gunman fired into a crowd assembled outside a Tucson supermarket to greet Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. He killed six people, critically wounded Giffords and injured 19 others before being apprehended.
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Requirements for an Emergency Management Job in Tucson
A 2012 posting for a job as emergency management coordinator with the Tucson Fire Department listed the following duties/responsibilities:
- Oversee city and departmental emergency preparedness issues
- Serve as liaison with federal, state and local agencies
- Develop emergency plans, including evacuation, sheltering, massive care, etc
- Conduct/coordinate emergency training drills
- Coordinate National Incident Management Training
- Create short- and long-term emergency management strategies
- Research and write grant proposals
Qualifications for the job of emergency management coordinator included:
- Bachelor’s degree in emergency management or public administration
- Four years experience in emergency program management
- Valid driver’s license
- Ability to pass a background check
- Knowledge of emergency management principles/practices; emergency operations centers; research/data collection; grant writing
- Ability to use Word, Access, Microsoft Office and Excel computer programs
Preference is given to individuals with certification through the International Association of Emergency Managers.
Annual salary: $52,686 to $88,524 depending on experience. Excellent benefits.
A bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement for a career in emergency management. There are eight colleges/universities in Arizona (one in the city of Tucson) that offer degree programs in emergency management and 174 students graduated in emergency management during the 2008-2009 school year. Potential employers of emergency management specialists in Tucson include city/state government, universities, hospitals/medical facilities, power/oil/utilities companies and large corporations.
How to Apply for a Job with the Tucson Office of Emergency Management
All open city jobs, along with job descriptions, qualifications and online applications, are available on the City of Tucson/Online Employment System website. Or call the Tucson Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security at 520/837-8800.
Emergency Management in Tucson, Arizona
The Tucson Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (TOEMHS), a city department and combined effort of the fire and police departments, is intended to “align Tucson’s resources into a unified, all disciplines and all-hazards approach to local and regional incident management” in order to best prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from natural/manmade disasters or acts of terrorism. TOEMHS functions include:
- Coordinating resources and personnel during an emergency/disaster
- Training all involved personnel
- Improving coordination among government agencies and the private sector
- Implementing the National Incident Management System
- Administering the Urban Area Security Initiative
- Developing and implementing a workable evacuation plan