Miami’s residents are very aware of the city’s potential to be in the path of a hurricane, especially during the dangerous season from June 1 through November 30. Hurricanes are categorized from one to five with category 1 as the least deadly (winds 74- 95 miles per hour). Winds of category 4 and 5 hurricanes are 131-155 mph and over 156 mph respectively with storm surges that can hold 30-foot-high walls of water. Most hurricane casualties are the result of drowning.
On August 25, 1992, Hurricane Andrew hit Miami’s Dade County with category 4 winds, killing three people and causing $25 billion in property damage. In 1965 Hurricane Betsy’s six-foot storm surge caused massive flooding in Miami, as did Hurricane Cleo in 1964. However, the city’s most destructive hurricane occurred in 1925, when an unnamed hurricane caused more property damage than ever experienced and killed between 325 (lowest estimate) and 800 (highest estimate) residents.
Requirements for an Emergency Management Career in Miami, Florida
Emergency management specialists are employed by many different government, educational, medical, private and non-profit agencies, institutions and businesses. Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college/university and excellent communication skills. A recent ad for a director of emergency management at a Miami institution of higher education described the job functions as follows:
- Develop and maintain a comprehensive emergency management plan
- Coordinate emergency simulation exercises
- Conduct vulnerability assessments
- Implement emergency management training programs
- Organize conferences on emergency management
- Serve as a liaison with federal, state, county and local agencies/groups
- Disseminate emergency preparedness information on campus
Job qualifications included a master’s degree in emergency management or a related field OR a bachelor’s degree and at least nine years relevant experience. Additional requirements:
- Knowledge of the National Incident Management System
- Knowledge of emergency management policies/procedures
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Good organizational skills
- Ability to work in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural environment
- Willingness to work a flexible schedule
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the annual mean salary for emergency management professionals in Miami is $91,140, which is higher than the $83,460 salary for Florida as a whole.
The Miami Office of Emergency Management
Hurricane preparedness is a top priority of the Miami Office of Emergency Management (OEM). A comprehensive Hurricane Preparation Guide is ready for download on the OEM website; it includes an evacuation map and detailed instructions for businesses and families with/without children and pets. The OEM is also dedicated to preparing Miami for other potential hazards, including floods, earthquakes, fires, chemical emergencies, flu epidemics, severe heat, drought and acts of terrorism. The office works in cooperation with federal, state and county emergency management departments, as well as local fire and rescue units, in planning, preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters or serious emergencies.
University of Miami Emergency Management
University of Miami Emergency Management was established in 2010 with a goal of making it the “most disaster resilient institution in the nation.” Functions include:
- Coordinating all preparation, response and recovery activities
- Developing/maintaining a comprehensive disaster preparation/recovery plan
- Overseeing multiple notification systems
- Complying with the National Incident Management System
- Conducting disaster simulation exercises
- Promoting emergency management awareness
- Partnering with relevant groups both on and off campus