NBC News ranked Little Rock ninth on its May 2013 list of the 10 most disaster prone cities in the U.S. Little Rock had 196 historic tornadoes between 1950 and 2010, including both the March 3, 1997 tornado that killed 10 people, injured 40 and caused 25 million dollars in damage and the huge January 21, 1999 tornado outbreak that ripped through downtown Little Rock damaging over 235 buildings, many beyond repair like a large supermarket where one person was killed.
In the same time period, Little Rock experienced 2,409 violent thunderstorms, 1,933 hailstorms, 455 floods, 36 severe winter storms, 20 incidents of extreme heat, 18 ice storms and 15 earthquakes. Surprisingly, Little Rock has a greater chance of earthquakes than either Arkansas or the U.S. as a whole. Like all big cities, Little Rock is also vulnerable to manmade emergencies. On June 1, 1999, American Airlines Flight 1420 from Dallas overran the runway at Little Rock and crashed, killing 11 people including the pilot, and injuring 110 others.
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Outlook and Requirements for an Emergency Management Career in Little Rock
The U.S. Department of Labor lists emergency management as a career with a “bright” future, predicting that emergency management jobs will increase by 20 percent. There are currently 150 emergency management specialists employed in Arkansas, and that number is expected to rise to 180 by 2018. Many of these jobs will be in Little Rock, the state’s largest city.
Requirements for a job as an emergency management specialist require:
- A bachelor’s degree in emergency management OR a degree in public administration (or a related field) and an emergency management certificate
- Two-three years experience in a related field (student internships and/or volunteer work often count as experience)
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Ability to work under stressful conditions
One school in Little Rock offers a program in emergency management from which 18 students graduated in the 2008-2009 school year.
How to Apply for a Job with Emergency Management in Little Rock
Persons interested in an emergency management job with the City of Little Rock should look for an opening on the Little Rock Human Services employment website (www.Lrjobs.net). Click on the desired position, then click on “apply” to complete an application form. Further information about paid or volunteer work is available from the Emergency Management Division, 7000 Murray Street, Little Rock, AR 72209; Tel: 501/569-4130 or 4131.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual mean salary for Emergency Management Managers in Little Rock as $51,220, considerably higher than the $41,340 noted for the rest of Arkansas.
Management of Natural and Manmade Emergencies and Disasters in Little Rock
The Emergency Management Division of the City of Little Rock is responsible for emergency preparedness/disaster planning for Little Rock. Its functions include:
- Coordinating multiple agencies during disaster response and recovery efforts
- Operating/maintaining an outdoor warning system of 56 sirens that have different tones for tornado warnings, wildfire alerts, evacuation orders, hazardous materials alerts and all-clear signals
- Managing homeland security grants
- Training and supervising the Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT)
- Preparing/distributing an in-depth preparedness guide for all potential hazards
- Supplying instructions for filling family disaster preparedness kits