Emergency Management Careers in Polk County, Iowa

Polk County Emergency Management identifies different ways in which it serves the public interest. First it works with people at all levels of the community, from private business to civic groups to individual citizens. Second, it develops emergency plans and emergency management training exercises ensuring the skills of all involved parties are well-honed.

When disaster does rear its ugly head, Polk County Emergency Management is there to pick up the pieces, coordinating vital operations and afterward making sure everyone gets to go home safely, or in the worst cases, is connected with the appropriate community resources agency. Polk County Emergency Management is the primary agency of its type in the county, though fellow cooperating agencies that provide their emergency management specialists in times of need include:

  • Polk County Health Department
  • Iowa Department of Public Health
  • Safeguard Iowa Partnership
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Certification and Education for Future Emergency Management Careers in
Polk County

Planning for future emergency management careers in Polk County is a strategic move for those interested in such a path. Emergency management specialists and coordinators should have education related to their particular area of focus and expertise. Academic programs include AA, BA, and BS degrees in:

  • Psychology – Crisis Management and Response
  • Emergency Management
  • Technology in Emergency Management
  • Crisis and Disaster Management
  • Information Technology
  • Public Health

There is also a variety of courses available in Polk County and throughout the state, offered by agencies such as Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management. These programs are for concerned citizens and job candidates who would like to increase their competitiveness and emergency management certification. Programs include:

  • Emergency Operation Center Interface
  • Effective Communication
  • Critical Employee Emergency Planning
  • Social Media for Natural Disaster Response and Recovery
  • Emergency and Disaster Management


Emergency Situations across Polk County

A primary function of emergency management coordinators is to network with other emergency professionals in Polk County, and this is exactly what happened in the winter of 2007 during a severe snowstorm event. As per the job description of an emergency management specialist, during that winter storm they coordinated the deployment of:

  • Utility vehicles to restore power
  • Fire, ambulance, and law enforcement units to the scenes of vehicle accidents and strandings
  • Basic resources for emergency shelters

While orchestrating these essential services, emergency management coordinators were also keeping the public informed through information officers about weather updates, shelter locations, and important advisories. After the storm, these specialists also managed the distribution of long-term aid in the form of low-interest loans, community programs, and counseling services for those who were traumatized or lost loved ones as a result of the snowstorm.

Emergency management jobs in Polk County also revolve around prevention, education, and training. Statistics have shown that a significant amount of lives are saved when people know how to respond to disaster warnings or in the midst of a catastrophe. That is why significant resources are spent on emergency management training in Polk County involving non-profit groups, businesses, citizens, and government agencies. Training is regularly conducted for tornado scenarios, as these are a not uncommon seasonal occurrence in the county. Less than one percent of all tornadoes spawn winds above 200 mile-per-hour, however since record keeping began in the Hawkeye State it has seen 11 of these behemoth storms, the most recent in May of 2008 that killed nine and destroyed 376 homes.

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