In recent years, Kansas has received more than its fair share of natural disasters. In February 2013, extremely heavy snows over a three-day period prompted the federal government to declare 23 counties in the state as disaster areas. In 2012, Kansas suffered from a string of severe storms, floods and tornados that damaged properties and communities in 17 counties. The year before, the federal government responded to flooding in August by providing money and assistance to beleaguered communities.
The agency spearheading many of the emergency operations in Kansas is the Division of Emergency Management. This agency is in charge of preparations for natural disasters, terrorist events and public health issues as well as the state’s responses. The Response Section is a unit responsible for providing assistance, coordinating state and local operations, and providing aid to victims. The Recovery Section is tasked with helping victims and communities obtain public assistance from state and federal organizations.
Training for Emergency Management Professionals in Kansas
Training of emergency management personnel is a major responsibility of the Division of Emergency Management. It utilizes a number of training facilities unique to Kansas as well utilized by states in the region. Crisis City is a multi-use, training complex utilized by first responders, EM personnel, private industry safety professionals and military units to prepare for disasters and terrorist incidents. The Kansas Regional Training Institute is a state facility utilized by the Army National Guard to develop response strategies to natural and man-made emergencies. The Great Plains Joint Training Center is a multi-state training facility open to military and civilian groups.
Kansas emergency management personnel train in concert with local, federal and military personnel on a regular basis. Exercises modeled on homeland security programs are regularly executed to facilitate greater preparedness and response agility. The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) is the fundamental program model and metric for operational success.
Requirements to Become an Emergency Management Professional in Kansas
The emergency management jobs in Kansas are typically very demanding and require highly educated and experienced EM professionals. The minimum qualifications for most of these jobs include:
- Bachelor’s degree, preferably with significant coursework in homeland security or emergency management
- Three to five years of experience in emergency response planning
- Familiarity with Emergency Management Mission Integrated Environment training
- Ability to effectively communicate and coordinate with local, state and federal authorities
- Ability to offer training to key agency personnel
- Ability to use HSEEP programs to design and implement training exercises
The Kansas Emergency Management Association offers a highly respected certification program that is helpful for EM personnel seeking employment or advancement. In order to obtain this certification, students must meet these requirements
- Completed high school
- Have at least two years of experience in emergency management
- Currently employed as an emergency management professional
- Completed the Emergency Management Institute’s Emergency Planning or Multi-Hazard Safety Program for Schools
- Completed the National Incident Management System training program