The Office of Emergency Management within the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is the primary agency for preparing resources, personnel and agencies for natural or manmade disturbances. The sheriff of the county also serves as the county Emergency Manager during an incident while the Emergency Management Coordinator provides day-to-day administration of the agency. Among the programs that the Office of Emergency Management supervises are volunteer preparation, personnel training and simulation exercises.
One of the most important programs in Arapahoe County is the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). This network of licensed amateurs has received training in the operation of radio transmitters for use during a disaster. The training for amateur radio operators includes knowledge of national communications protocols and community preparation. These volunteers provide a valuable public service which is especially important for residents in this mountainous region.
Training and Requirements for Emergency Management Professionals in Arapahoe County, Colorado
There are numerous employment opportunities for emergency management professionals in Arapahoe County, Colorado. Employers in this county may hire from a variety of specialties including architecture, urban planning, emergency medicine, disaster research, or engineering. While the exact qualifications depend on the needs of the employing organization, the majority of these careers have requirements similar to these:
- Graduation from an accredited college or university with a baccalaureate degree in
- Social sciences
- Information technology
- Terrorism studies
- Homeland security
- Knowledge of the National Incident Management System
- Ability to manage and train EM personnel and volunteers
- Proficiency with common web and computer applications
- Superior written and verbal communication talents
Training for most emergency management careers are found through employers or affiliated agencies. First responders like fire and police must complete rigorous training programs through state sponsored academies. Emergency medical technicians must complete training through EMS schools and obtain licenses. All of these professions require annual or periodic training to maintain licenses.
Emergency management specialists and coordinators may find specialized training through state or federal agencies. The Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management offers courses like
- Intermediate Incident Command System
- Crisis Management for School Based Incidents—Rural Focus
- Social Media for Disaster Response and Recovery
The Emergency Management Institute is a federal agency that offers courses in
- Continuity Programs
- Disaster Logistics
- Emergency Communications
- Operational Planning
Natural Disasters in Arapahoe County’s Past
Since the 1940s, Arapahoe County has experienced 40 tornadoes with a magnitude of two or higher. The most destructive of these occurred in 1981 that caused 42 injuries and almost $25 million in damage. During this period over 363 floods have inundated this area. Twenty-nine earthquakes have struck Arapahoe County with a magnitude of 3.5 or higher; the most powerful of these last occurred in 1967.