Washington County, Arkansas is highly prone to natural disasters, which has prompted many local employers to sponsor jobs for emergency management professionals. Since 1950, Washington County has experienced 2,108 flooding reports, 8,456 reports of hail and 7,771 reports of severe rain or wind. This county has also recorded 92 tornado events during this period. One of the most recent disasters to strike Washington County include severe flooding in May of 2013. Heavy, persistent rains contributed to hazardous driving conditions which resulted in at least one injured resident. In 2010, a tornado struck the town of Cincinnati, Arkansas on New Year’s Eve, killing three people; there were also widespread power outages and property damage.
Qualifications to Become an Emergency Management Professional in Washington County, Arkansas
The American Red Cross is a critical disaster relief organization with a strong presence in Washington County. The Red Cross published a job description for an emergency management professional with the following qualifications:
- Must have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations, communications or a related field
- Must have three to five years of experience managing media relations.
- Must possess excellent project management skills
- Experience in multimedia, print and video production
- Ability to quickly write effective articles
- Proficiency using Twitter, Facebook and other social media applications
- Between six and 12 months of management experience preferred
- Ability to multi-task along with strong organizational skills
- Ability to work with agency personnel at the chapter or national level
- Proficiency with Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and Excel
- Proficiency with video editing software and HTML
Many of the emergency management courses in Washington County are sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management or the federal Emergency Management Institute, but are offered through local colleges or public agencies. These courses include:
- Earthquake safety: Evaluation of Buildings
- Instructional delivery and evaluation skills
- Resource management
- Infrastructure and key resources awareness
- Advanced critical infrastructure protection
Many of the certification and training programs for first responders in Washington County may be obtained through state sponsored facilities. The Arkansas Department of Health provides training programs throughout the state for prospective emergency medical technicians. Fire and police recruits must complete their training and licensing through academies, with periodic in-service training to maintain certification. There are also a number of widely recognized certification programs from prestigious organizations like the International Association of Emergency Managers.
Washington County Department of Emergency Management
Due to the propensity for natural emergencies in this county, the county government has implemented a number of emergency management systems. The Washington County Department of Emergency Management oversees disaster preparedness and response operations in the county. One of the most important systems for county residents is the Code Red Emergency Notification System which alerts residents in unincorporated areas of the county to approaching storms or impending events. The Code Red system utilizes phone calls, e-mails and texts to warn residents.