The Dekalb County Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) coordinates the operations regarding disaster preparedness and response in the county. DEMA maintains and operates the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) which serves as the command center during an environmental or technological disaster. DEMA also helps prepare county residents for possible crises b publishing information about public health risks, emergency preparedness kits and community resources.
DEMA has been instrumental in the formulation of the Dekalb County Hazard Mitigation Plan, which provides an assessment of potential environmental or manmade risks as well as recommendations for mitigation. The hazard assessment portion identifies past disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes as well as vulnerable infrastructure and community areas. The Hazard Mitigation Plan also provides guidelines for critical industries like construction and engineering.
Another agency responsible for county disaster readiness is the Dekalb County Board of Health’s Office of Emergency Preparedness. This agency helps respond to terrorism attacks involving biological, chemical, or radiological agents. The Office of Emergency Preparedness partners with local schools, religious organizations and community groups to help train and educate county residents about potential emergencies.
Training and Requirements for Emergency Management Professionals in Dekalb County, Georgia
As a well-developed suburban region for metropolitan Atlanta, Dekalb County provides ample opportunities for emergency management specialists in the fields of public health, engineering, urban planning, business continuity planning and meteorology. These jobs may differ in specific requirements, but they general require qualifications similar to these:
- A bachelor’s degree
- Business administration
- Public policy
- Emergency management
- Public health
- Between five and ten years of experience in emergency management or disaster preparedness
- Familiarity with the Incident Command System, National Response Framework and Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program
- Outstanding abilities in written and oral communication
- Knowledge of federal, state and local emergency management laws and statutes
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and the federal Emergency Management Institute are the primary providers of emergency management courses in Dekalb County, Georgia. GEMA offers a variety of courses including:
- Flood fight operations
- Hazardous materials contingency planning
- Hazardous weather and flooding preparedness
- EOC management and operations
The Emergency Management Institute offers certification programs and training courses in several specialized fields including:
- Intro to Incident Command System for Federal Workers
- Livestock in disaster
- Introduction to the Defense Priorities and Allocations System
- Preparedness and Technology
- Mission assignment overview
- Hazardous materials prevention
- Guide to points of distribution
- Preparing for mass casualty incidents
Disasters in Dekalb County, Georgia
Dekalb County has experienced a number of tornado events in the past half century. Since 1950, tornadoes have caused five deaths and injuries to 172 people. The most destructive of these occurred in 1975, when a Category Three tornado killed three people and injured more than 152 others. This tornado produced between $50 million and $500 million in damage.