Indiana has experienced a wide array of disasters related to severe weather in recent years. In 2008, Indiana had one of the most disastrous years due to immense flooding throughout the state at different points in the year. The storms and overflowing waters contributed to the evacuation of 8,400 residents, damage to 5,600 homes, 100 dams, and 650 roads. The federal government provided more than $213 million in aid to property owners and communities.
In 2012, almost 64 of 92 counties in Indiana were declared natural disaster areas by the federal government following a record-breaking drought. The drought that devastated much of the Midwest and significantly reduced major agricultural production severely reduced water levels in 54 percent of the state.
How to Become an Emergency Management Professional in Indiana
Emergency management jobs in Indiana can be found throughout the public and private sectors. URS, an engineering, construction and technical services company, posted a recruitment ad for a Health & Safety, Homeland Security Specialist with the following requirements:
- Possession of a bachelor’s degree
- At least two years of experience with Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program
- Experience with emergency response
- Strong verbal and written communication skills
- Outstanding organizational skills
- Ability to interact effectively with state, local and federal officials, technical experts, and company staff
- Proficiency with common word processing and multi-media presentation applications
- Knowledge of National Guard or U.S. military operations is preferred
- Willingness to travel
While these are minimum requirements, it is not uncommon for many providers of emergency management careers in Indiana to prefer or require advanced degrees and/or up to ten years of professional experience in the field.
Many agencies in Indiana provide emergency management professionals with opportunities to obtain specialized knowledge. The IDHS has established several certification programs for a variety of professions. These programs include
- EMS certification
- Fire certification
- Public Safety Identification Information
- Regulated Explosives Use Information
The American Red Cross provides a variety of victim assistance classes like first aid, CPR and volunteer management. The Emergency Management Institute is a federal agency that offers emergency management courses in Indiana through classroom and online instruction.
Emergency Management Organizations in Indiana
At the state level, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) oversees natural and human generated emergency response planning. IDHS works closely with firefighters, local law enforcement, emergency medical personnel and community leaders to help prepare for crisis response. It utilizes the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to facilitate and coordinate emergency responses throughout the state. The EOC also employs a secure internet operations picture, which gathers images and information from over 4,000 registered users across the state.
The Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) is a forward response unit which is deployed during disasters. IMAT personnel are recruited from across state agencies, thus providing a broad perspective on emergency operations. These units utilize advanced communications equipment and protocols to facilitate effective response. IMAT also has operational command of many crisis operations which allows it to more easily secure and distribute state resources.