Wilmington’s location at the confluence of Brandywine Creek and the Christina River, near where the Christina flows into the Delaware River, makes the city susceptible to flooding. Wilmington had 967 floods between 1950 and 2010, as well as 2,414 severe thunderstorms, 634 hailstorms and 238 incidents of extreme heat. Over 3,000 Wilmington residents were evacuated in August 2011, as Hurricane Irene flooded Brandywine Park, uprooted trees and sent torrents of water down the city streets.
Wilmington also has a greater chance of both tornadoes and earthquakes than the rest of Delaware or the U.S. as a whole. The city has witnessed close to 50 tornadoes since 1950, including one in 2004 that caused a death and significant damage to the New Castle County Airport located five miles outside Wilmington.
Emergency Management Careers in Wilmington, Delaware
Emergency management specialist jobs require a bachelor’s degree in emergency management or a degree in a field like public administration and a certificate in emergency management. An increasing number of colleges/universities are offering degree or certification programs in emergency management, both on campus and online. Certification courses can also be taken online through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Required courses include subjects like:
- Incident Management
- Operational Planning
- Disaster Logistics
- Emergency Communications
- Hazard Mitigation
Manmade Emergencies in Wilmington
On February 11, 2013, the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington was the scene of a mass shooting. Three women were killed and three other people were wounded, including two police officers. A year earlier, on July 9, 2012, three gunmen began shooting into the crowd at a soccer tournament in Wilmington. Three people were wounded, including a 16-year-old boy who was shot in the head before spectators began returning fire, injuring one of the shooters who fled in a vehicle only to crash a short time later. The wounded gunman later died.
Managing Natural and Manmade Disasters/Emergencies in Wilmington
The Wilmington Office of Emergency Management (OEM) coordinates the efforts of all first responders/community groups to ensure a quick and efficient response to any natural or manmade disaster/emergency. Functions of the Wilmington OEM include:
- Developing and updating a citywide emergency operations plan
- Preparing a special flood plan for families and businesses
- Completing all necessary paperwork for federal relief fund eligibility
- Working to keep communications networks, transportation systems, infrastructure facilities and vital public services operating in a disaster
- Organizing and training a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
Wilmington Emergency Management CERT
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is made up of volunteers who are trained as support for first responders when a disaster or serious emergency occurs. The 16-hour training includes both classroom work and hands-on training in these areas:
- Emergency Preparedness
- Fire Safety
- Emergency Medical Operations
- Light Search and Rescue
- CERT Organization
- Disaster Psychology
- Community Emergency Response
How to Apply for a Job with the Wilmington Office of Emergency Management
A list of open positions is available on the City of Wilmington Human Resources website. If the desired job is listed, download an application, complete it and either email to wilmjobs@wilmingtonDE.gov or mail to the address given. Emergency Management Specialists in Wilmington earn an average annual salary of $60,000.