Louisiana has been the epicenter of some of the most lethal and costly disasters in recent memory. In 2005, New Orleans and much of Louisiana was struck the Hurricane Katrina causing the deaths of 1,833 Americans. The levees that were intended to protect New Orleans failed to protect much of the city from the ocean surges accompanying the Category 3 hurricane. Almost 80 percent of the city was flooded for several weeks. The property damage in Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states was estimated at $81 billion.
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In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, an offshore drilling platform owned by British Petroleum produced an oil spill as a result of an uncapped oil gusher. The uncapped well dispersed oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 continuous days. The total amount of oil released is estimated at 4.9 million barrels. The resulting oil spill produced damage to marine and coastal ecosystems across the southern U.S. coast. The resulting damage to fishing, tourism and other industries led to a $42.2 billion payment by British Petroleum.
How to Become an Emergency Management Professional in Louisiana
There are numerous emergency management jobs in Louisiana from public and private employers. In most positions of this caliber, applicants are expected to have at least a bachelor’s degree and many possess a master’s. The prior experience in the EM field is expected to span a minimum of three to five years, and it is not uncommon to ask for up to ten years of prior experience.
In a job posting from Falck Alford, a Major Emergency Management Lead Trainer position had the following requirements:
- Knowledge of operational emergency management including fire, police, EMS, military, and coast guard
- Prior experience as an instructor or teacher
- Proficiency in reading and interpreting technical journals, professional periodicals and government regulations
- Competency in writing reports and procedure manuals
- Ability to present information to managers, clients, and the general public
- Problem solving and critical thinking
- Willingness to travel throughout the country
- Knowledge of the oil and gas industry
- Knowledge of HSE regulations
One of the most prestigious accreditation organizations in the state is the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association. This organization offers training and certification exams for Certified Emergency Managers and Associate Emergency Managers. Much of the training for these courses and other programs in the state are conducted at the Joint Emergency Services Training Center in Baton Rouge.
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
Due to the importance of Louisiana in the petroleum industry and its susceptibility to major natural disasters, especially hurricanes, Louisiana has instituted robust emergency management systems. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) oversees state preparedness and responses. GOHSEP works in close cooperation with federal agencies to help provide assistance to residents who are recovering from a disaster. The Public Assistance Grant Program is a federal program that provides funds to local communities in the aftermath of a disaster. This program provides no less than 75 percent of the cost for restoration.