Disaster preparedness and response programs in Orange County, Florida are coordinated by the Orange County Office of Emergency Management (OEM). The OEM administers a variety of communications programs designed to alert county residents to impending natural disasters like hurricanes, floods or tornadoes, as well as provide pertinent information should a disaster disrupt conventional communications systems. These communications systems include the Emergency Alert System that notifies the public about civil or environmental crises through radio or television alerts. OCAlert is a unique county program that notifies residents through email, cell phone or pager about disruptive events.
Some of the most common disasters to strike Orange County are hurricanes and other extreme weather events. In order to help residents prepare for these highly dangerous disasters, the OEM works with National Weather Service to provide the public with a continuous stream of information through the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR). The NWR provides 24 hour news about weather, hazardous material spills and public safety issues.
Training and Requirements for Emergency Management Jobs in Orange County, Florida
There are numerous opportunities for emergency management professionals specializing in public information, political science, engineering, information technology or emergency planning in Orange County, Florida. The requirements for most of these positions are similar to the following:
- Graduation from an accredited college or university with a bachelor’s degree in
- Emergency management
- Terrorism studies
- Criminal justice
- Homeland security
- Public policy
- Business administration
- At least five years of experience in homeland security or emergency management
- Experience in supervising disaster preparedness or response operations
- Ability to work closely with state, local, federal and private sector personnel
- Strong verbal and written communication skills
- Familiarity with Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program, Incident Command System, National Incident Management System and National Response Framework
The Emergency Management Institute is a federal agency that designs and provides emergency management courses to EM personnel throughout all levels of the public and private sector. This agency offers a number of certification programs which require successful completion of a variety of courses. These include:
- Professional Development Series
- Decision making and problem solving
- Leadership and influence
- Introduction to exercises
- Fundamentals of emergency planning
- National Incident Management System
- Introduction to Incident Command System
- NIMS, an Introduction
- NIMS resource management
- National Response Framework, an introduction
Another prestigious certifying organization is the International Association of Emergency Managers which offers the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) or Associate Energy Manager (AEM) accreditations.
The History of Natural Disasters in Orange County, Florida
Orange County has a higher than average number of tornado events. Between 1950 and 2004, there have been 29 fatalities and 305 injuries due to tornados. The most dangerous tornado event occurred in 1998, when a Category Three tornado with winds between 158 and 206 mph spawned in the county. Almost 25 people were killed and 150 people were injured; the resulting damage was estimated at $55 million.