Aurora’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is responsible for designing, developing and implementing emergency management programs that mitigate threats and provide appropriate responses to natural, technological or man-made disasters. OEM works closely with a variety of public, private and volunteer organizations to ensure that the residents of Aurora are adequately prepared for any type of disaster.
Among the many programs that the OEM oversees is the CodeRED early warning system. This early notification system may alert city residents about approaching or current disasters including bio-terrorism, water contamination, mass evacuations or missing child alerts. The CodeRED system employs phone calls to the residences or mobile phones of individuals who sign up for the program.
In response to several recent disasters that struck Aurora in the past few decades involving extreme heat or cold, the Office of Emergency Management has authorized the creation of community heating and cooling centers. These public shelters are supported through public and private organizations like the public library and the Salvation Army. These centers are found throughout the city and are intended for refuges for the most vulnerable including senior citizens and the indigent.
Training and Requirements for Emergency Management Specialists in Aurora
There are a wide variety of emergency management jobs in Aurora, Illinois that are held by professionals who have experience in meteorology, public administration, law enforcement, emergency medicine or engineering. Most of the emergency management jobs in this area have requirements similar to the following:
- A bachelor’s degree in
- Homeland security
- Emergency management
- Information technology
- Criminal justice
- Business administration
- At least five years of experience working in the homeland security or emergency management fields
- Experience developing or implementing emergency management training programs
- Knowledge of the National Incident Management System or National Response Framework
Prospective or current emergency management professionals who wish to further their careers may seek additional training and certification through several local agencies. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) offers a year round schedule of training exercises for public and private EM personnel. The IEMA also offers courses designed by the federal Emergency Management Institute including
- Introduction to Exercises
- Emergency Planning
- Decision Making and Problem Solving
- Effective Communication
- Fundamentals of Emergency Management
- Leadership and Influence
- Developing and Managing Volunteers
In addition to federally sponsored training modules, the IEMA also provides training and certification for a variety of EM specialists including EM trainers, volunteer coordinators, and all hazards liaison officers.
Natural Disasters in Aurora, Illinois
In one of the largest natural disasters to strike Aurora, a F5 category tornado touched down just outside the city in 1990. The tornado killed 29 people and injured more than 350 others. This twister had winds as fast 318 mph which caused almost $500,000 in damage to the city.
A similar event in 1976 involving a F4 category tornado killed two people and injured 23 others. This storm caused between $500,000 and $5 million in damage to the city.