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Emergency Management Careers in Hawaii County, Hawaii

Hawaii County’s Civil Defense Agency is responsible for managing and preparing for any and all possible disasters on the island. The agency coordinates risk assessments, contingencies, damage control, emergency response, and shelters with state, local, and federal emergency management agencies. Much of the Civil Defense Agency’s time is spent on public education and emergency management training in Hawaii County with fellow public, private, and non-profit associations, such as the Red Cross and religious groups. Currently the agency has in place contingency plans for:

  • Nuclear, biological, and chemical attacks or accidents
  • Hurricanes
  • Tsunamis
  • Floods
  • Volcanic eruptions


Planning for Future Emergency Management Jobs in Hawaii County

People can make a positive difference in their communities be it through distributing informative fliers about a lava evacuation route or serving warm drinks at an emergency shelter. Those with emergency management jobs in Hawaii County directly help to keep the public safe and educated while minimizing property damage, often times standing in harm’s way.

Candidates who are interested in future careers with organizations such as the Civil Defense Agency can begin obtaining relevant qualifications that can be in the form of an emergency management degree or certification in an area such as:

  • Emergency and Disaster Management
  • Emergency Management and Public Health
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Wireless Communication
  • Disaster Health
  • Fire Science

Hawaii’s Powerful Forces of Nature

Recently the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated Hawaii County as a natural disaster area because of millions of dollars in crop damage caused by gasses released from the Kilauea volcano. This active volcano is the center of eruptions in the Hawaiian hotspot, and has explosively erupted on several occasions in recent times. The County of Hawaii’s Civil Defense Agency is continuously monitoring the status of Kilauea because it is in a nearly constant state of eruption. The agency, working in conjunction with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Rangers, maintains readiness for an evacuation of up to 10,000 people should dangerous eruption explosions or toxic gasses threaten any park visitors and tourists. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency also prepares for events that are somewhat more predictable than volcanic eruptions: Kona Storms.

Those working in emergency management careers will remember the Kona Storm that struck Hawaii County during the first and second full weeks of December in 2007. A dangerous climatological event, Kona Storms – also known as sub-tropical cyclones – do not usually cause disaster and damage from high wind speed, but rather from intensive showers that linger over the course of several days. In this case however, wind gusts were measured at 70 miles per hour and nearly a foot of rain fell in some areas. Because of the advances in modern weather forecasting technology, geographers and weather officials were able to give the County of Hawaii Civil Defense Agency some notice of the storm, allowing them to mobilize their emergency preparedness specialists, emergency planners, disaster research specialists, and public information officers.

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