Emergency Management Careers in Orange County, California

In Orange County, the Emergency Management Division (EMD) of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department supervises disaster preparedness and recovery programs. The EMD supervises 115 jurisdictions within its operational area, which includes public agencies as well as private organizations and county residents. This agency is responsible for planning responses to civil disturbances, energy crises, tsunamis, earthquakes and nuclear power plant breaches.

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Requirements for Emergency Management Jobs in Orange County, California

The most common requirements for emergency management jobs in public health, disaster recovery, public information, or engineering include:

  • Bachelor’s degree, with many employers preferring at least a master’s degree in
    • Public safety
    • Law
    • Public policy
    • Homeland security
    • Emergency management
    • Communications
    • History
    • Public administration
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • At least five years of full time experience in emergency management, homeland security or public administration
  • Proficiency with common computer applications; many require familiarity with social media platforms
  • Willingness to work in hazardous environments
  • Ability to achieve consensus among diverse stakeholders

Training for Emergency Managers in Orange County, California

Emergency management professionals may receive training from a variety of state and federal agencies. The California Office of Emergency Services offers a variety of courses including:

  • Advanced Chemical and Biological Integrated Response
  • Terrorism Liaison Officer
  • Domestic Preparedness Campus
  • State Emergency Planning

The COES is also responsible for conducting training exercises that familiarize local and state personnel with emergency response procedures.

This agency is also a partner for the California Fire and Rescue Training Authority which helps provide basic and advanced training to fire department personnel.

Major Disasters in Orange County Over the Years

Orange County has experienced a wide range of environmental and manmade calamities in the past century. Among the most devastating was the Long Beach Earthquake that killed 60 people. This 6.3 magnitude quake occurred on the Newport-Inglewood fault off the coast of Orange County. The quake in 1933 prompted state officials to elevate building standards so that structures could withstand more powerful disturbances.

In 1938, a major flood struck Orange County when two strong oceanic storms swept inland. Almost 115 people died in three counties, and flooding destroyed roads, bridges and buildings. Thousands of residents were stranded.  The resulting damage was estimated at $40 million.  Several dams were built to prevent future flooding.

In 1990, the oil Tanker American Trader breached its hull when it ran over its anchor while off the coast of Orange County.  Almost 400,000 gallons of oil were spilled into the ocean.  This created a major die-off of seabirds and other marine organisms.  The crippling blow to the coastal communities’ economy was somewhat assuaged by the awarding of $27 million following a lawsuit.

In 2007, the Santiago Fire engulfed areas of Silverado Canyon and Santiago, ultimately destroying more than 28,000 acres.  Fifteen fires were destroyed and 16 people were injured. Almost 1,100 firefighters battled the fire for 31 days.

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