In May of 2013, NBC News ranked Arkansas ninth on their list of the 10 top states with the most natural disasters. Since 1953, Arkansas has been declared a disaster area 53 times. The state can experience heavy snow/ice storms in winter, spring tornadoes and heavy rain/floods at any time. Recent disasters include:
- February 8, 2008 – Super tornado outbreak killed 13 people and caused $120 million in damages.
- June 11, 2010 – Over 20 people died when flash floods swept through campsites at the Albert Pike Recreational Area.
- April 25-28, 2011 – Largest tornado outbreak ever recorded killed 314 people across six states, dozens of them in Arkansas.
- May 30-June 3. 2013 – Severs storms, tornadoes and floods.
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Outlook and Requirements for an Emergency Management Career
The U.S. Department of Labor predicted that emergency management jobs will increase by 20 percent or more making it a career with a very bright outlook. There are currently 150 emergency management specialists working in Arkansas and that number is expected to increase to 180 by 2018.
Requirements for the job of emergency management specialist are:
- Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in emergency management OR a degree in public administration or a related field and a certificate in emergency management
- Two or three years experience in a related field. Student internships and other volunteer jobs often can be used to help meet this requirement
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
Currently 180 U.S. schools offer degrees in emergency management and FEMA reports that 100 other colleges/universities are in the process of developing degree programs. Arkansas has one university that produces an average of 75 emergency management graduates each year. Many more online emergency management degree programs are available to students in Arkansas.
How to Apply for Emergency Management Jobs in Arkansas
All state jobs must be applied for online via the “Arkansas State Jobs” website. Applications for positions with the city of Little Rock must be submitted online at www.lrjobs.net.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary for emergency management specialists is $41,340.
State of Arkansas Emergency Management at Work
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) is the state emergency coordination center. It strives to prevent, protect against, respond to and mitigate the effects of a disaster. ADEM subdivisions are:
- The Emergency Operations Center includes representatives from a various state agencies that work together to ensure quick assistance in an emergency.
- The Community Response Team was developed to help communities help themselves in the event of a widespread disaster. Volunteers are trained to provide assistance until professional responders arrive. They also promote community awareness and install smoke alarms in homes of the elderly disabled.
- Fire Services is ADEM’s liaison with the fire department.
- The Mitigation Branch develops strategies, like the safe room/shelter program, to lessen the impact of tornadoes, floods and other disasters.
City of Little Rock Emergency Management
The state capital and largest city has an active emergency management division that is dedicated to preparing, protecting and assisting Little Rock residents during severe winter storms, excessive heat, violent thunderstorms/lightning strikes, tornadoes, floods or terrorist incidents. Functions include:
- Coordinating the responses of multiple city agencies during a disaster
- Operating and maintaining an emergency warning system
- Providing family disaster preparation kits
- Educating the community about disaster preparedness