In recent years, Florida has experienced several natural and ecological disasters that have detrimentally impacted the lives of residents, their property and the state’s economy. In 2010, the oil spill resulting from a failure at a British Petroleum offshore drilling platform proved devastating for Florida’s wildlife and economy. The tourist industry in the state was sharply curtailed as a result. In response to numerous legal actions, BP eventually provided more than $4.9 billion in penalties to affected Florida businesses.
The most destructive of natural events to regularly strike Florida are of course hurricanes. Since 2000, seven major hurricanes have made landfall on the Panhandle State, including Ivan, Katrina, Dennis and Charley. Hurricane Charley was the most powerful of these with winds close to 150 mph causing almost $14 billion in damage along and ten deaths. Hurricane Ivan caused almost $13 billion in damages and more than 92 American deaths.
How to Become an Emergency Management Specialist in Florida
Education and General Requirements – In recent job postings for private sector emergency management companies in Florida, the minimum requirements for an emergency preparedness technical specialist were:
- Possession of a bachelor’s degree
- At least ten years of experience in emergency management
- Knowledge of emergency planning, regulatory compliance and personnel
- Experience interacting with state, local and federal emergency management agencies
- Technical writing and report preparation
- Outstanding oral communication skills including the ability to interact with peers, subordinates, technical experts, and clients
- Extensive project management skills
- Superior leadership talents
While the prior experience requirements in this industry are quite high in this industry, in some cases they may be reduced with additional academic degrees like masters or doctorates.
Emergency Management Certification – A key component in any resume for emergency management careers is licensing. There are several highly important organizations that accredit emergency management professionals, including the highly reputed Emergency Management Institute. This agency offers courses in several relevant topics including
- Operational planning
- Disaster logistics
- Incident management
- Emergency communications
- Continuity programs
- Integrated preparedness
- Hazard mitigation
In order to receive accreditation in one of these areas, all requisite courses must be completed and a comprehensive exam passed.
Public and Private Sector Emergency Management Organizations in Florida
In order to combat the widespread devastation and loss of life that disasters can wreak on Florida communities, the state employs a network of public and private agencies to help heighten readiness and provide aid. Some of these private companies include Enercon, which is a power generation and business support services company.
Florida is subject to major natural disasters, especially hurricanes and tropical storms. The agency primarily responsible for overseeing preparations for and responses to these events is the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM). The FDEM is responsible for statewide preparedness for natural and man-made disasters, which may include nuclear plant accidents, hazardous materials or terrorist incidents. In addition to operating the Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, which coordinates emergency operations statewide, the FDEM also operates the State Warning Point, which is a 24 hour early detection system.