In Denver County, emergency management services are administered through a partnership between the county and municipal governments. These services originate in the City of Denver’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS). The OEMHS sponsors a number of key programs designed to optimize readiness for environmental or manmade disasters.
One of the most successful programs the OEMHS has implemented is the Citizen Emergency Response Training (CERT) program. CERT is a national program with chapters in almost all U.S. counties and seeks to train residents to respond to disasters without assistance from public agencies. CERT members are taught how to survive, rescue victims and organize survivors. The OEMHS has found enormous success in this program with over 1,500 graduates of the CERT program.
Qualifications to Become an Emergency Management Professional in Denver County, Colorado
Denver County offers numerous employment opportunities for emergency management professionals who have specialized in public health, urban planning, homeland security, business continuity planning, or disaster research. Many of these careers require applicants to possess qualifications similar to:
- Bachelor’s degree (master’s degrees may be required for more technical disciplines)
- Emergency management
- Homeland security
- Public health
- Terrorism studies
- Public policy
- From five to ten years of experience in emergency management, disaster response or homeland security
- Accreditation as a CEM is preferred
- Experience in a supervisory position
- Knowledge of the National Incident Management System or National Response Framework
- Knowledge of the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program
- Strong verbal and written communication skills
- Ability to train EM professionals and volunteers
Many emergency personnel may find training through their employers or related agencies like fire or police academies. Training is also offered through the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Certification programs are sponsored by nationally recognized organizations like the Emergency Management Institute, which offers the Professional Development Series, and the International Association of Emergency Managers, which offers the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) or the Associate Emergency Manager (AEM).
Natural Disasters in Denver County
Since 1960 Denver has experience more than 150 flood and 28 earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 3.5. There have also been 38 tornado events with a magnitude of two or higher; the most powerful of these occurred in 2008, and resulted in one fatality and 78 injured persons.
In August of 2011, Denver County recorded an earthquake of magnitude 5.3, followed shorty afterwards by another quake of magnitude 4.6. The first of these was the strongest to hit the state in more than 40 years. The earthquakes caused widespread damage to structures but no fatalities were reported.
In June of 2013, temperatures in Denver County hit a record high of 99 degrees. This surpassed the record of 97 set in 1952. The unusual heat wave prompted many county residents to set up sandbag walls to ward off mudslides and flood waters from quick melting snowpack.