Emergency Management Careers in Riverside County, California

Unlike many counties in the U.S. where emergency management services are centralized into a single organization, Riverside County distributes responsibilities to various agencies:

  • The Riverside County Sheriff supervises the law enforcement and fatalities management operations within the county
  • The Office of Emergency Services within the Riverside County Fire Department operates the county Emergency Operations Center and assists in recovery efforts for major disasters
  • The Riverside County Emergency Medical Services agency helps train emergency medical personnel and provides medical treatment to injured residents

Many of these first responders and emergency management personnel participated in the Great Southern California ShakeOut which mimics the effects of a 7.8 earthquake.  This simulation was designed by more than 300 seismologists.  Almost 5,000 first responders participated in the scenario which simulated downed power grids, communications systems and impassable roads.


Training and Requirements for Emergency Management Professionals in Riverside County, California

Emergency management professionals can be found in a number of specialties including emergency planning, information science, business and political science.  While the exact academic and professional requirements differ, most of these professions typically require the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree, with preference shown to advanced degree holders in
    • Emergency management
    • Homeland security
    • Terrorism studies
    • Disaster preparedness
    • Public administration
    • Epidemiology
  • At least five years of experience in emergency management, business continuity or public policy
  • Superior skills in verbal and written communication
  • Outstanding leadership and management abilities
  • Knowledge of project or program management
  • Ability to work with a diverse group of stakeholders
  • Certification as a Certified Emergency  Manager is preferred
  • Proficiency with common web and computer applications
  • Knowledge of the National Incident Management System and National Response Framework
  • Ability to work with state and federal agency personnel

First responders including EMTs, firefighters and law enforcement officers must complete academies or employer sanctioned training programs prior to field duty.  These professionals must maintain their licenses through annual or periodic training.

Emergency management coordinators may obtain specialized training through a variety of state, federal or private organizations.  The federal Emergency Management Institute offers several certification programs which include courses like:

  • Incident management
  • Disaster logistics
  • Integrated preparedness
  • Hazard mitigation
  • Operational planning

The California Office of Emergency Services also offers a selection of courses including:

  • Emergency Management Specialist Certificate Program
  • Hazardous Materials Program

A highly reputed private industry organization is the International Association of Emergency Managers, which offers certification programs for Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) or Associate Emergency Manager (AEM).

Disasters in Riverside County

While Riverside County is subject to a wide variety of natural and manmade disasters, by far, the most common are earthquakes. Since 1944, there have 203 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.5 or higher. The most powerful earthquakes ever recorded were of magnitude 6.5 and occurred in 1948 and 1968.  The U.S. Geological Service predicts that an earthquake of 5.5 has a 95.235 percent chance of striking the Riverside County area within the next 50 years.

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