Hillsborough County’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) heads the county’s efforts to prepare for and respond to natural or manmade disasters. This includes the operation of the County Emergency Operations Center, the facility for coordinating all county emergency activities during a crisis.
OEM is also committed to limiting vulnerabilities to natural disasters like hurricanes by implementing a series of mitigation strategies. These strategies include retrofitting existing structures so that they are more resistant to environmental stresses. OEM periodically provides workshops through the Hazard Mitigation Education Program to describe effective and appropriate methods for improving structure strength.
One of the greatest threats to Hillsborough County is floods. In order to reduce the risk to residents, OEM has partnered with several federal agencies to analyze and map flood patterns. This flood map will allow OEM to allocate more resources to higher risk areas. Homeowners residing in more vulnerable areas are alerted to the risks long before a flood event, as well as immediately before a flood is imminent.
In 1966, a number of Category Four tornadoes spawned in Hillsborough County. These twisters had winds in excess of 100 mph and killed three people in the county, and 11 across the state. More than 400 people were injured due to the storms, which cut a long path across the state. More than $50 million in damages resulted from the storm.
How to Become an Emergency Management Professional in Hillsborough County, Florida
Like most counties in Florida, Hillsborough presents a wealth of opportunities for emergency management professionals specializing in the fields of public health, meteorology, urban planning, engineering and business continuity planning. Although the exact requirements for these jobs is dependent upon the employer, most emergency management jobs in Hillsborough County, Florida have requirements similar to these:
- Five to ten years of full time experience in emergency management, homeland security, or disaster preparedness
- A bachelor’s degree in
- Emergency management
- Homeland security
- Disaster research
- Public health
- Business administration
- At least a year of full time experience coordinating emergency operations and personnel
- Knowledge of the Incident Command System, National Incident Management System and National Response Framework
- CEM certified preferred
- Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
The Florida Division of Emergency Management offers an extensive selection of emergency management courses in Hillsborough County, Florida. These include
- Stadium disaster exercise
- Hazmat incident command
- Basic community emergency response team
- Local volunteer and donations management
- Chemical hazards analysis
The federal Emergency Management Institute also provides training in a variety of critical areas including
- Continuity programs
- Integrated preparedness
- Hazard mitigation
- Operational planning
- Disaster logistics
- Emergency communications
The Emergency Management Institute also offers accreditation programs that are recognized throughout the industry. The International Association of Emergency Managers is an industry organization that certifies qualified professionals as Certified Emergency Managers (CEM) or Associate Emergency Managers (AEM).