The New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP) is the city’s lead agency in planning for and responding to natural or man-made disasters. NOHSEP works closely with the Mayor, City Council and other government agencies to mitigate hazards related to hurricanes, floods, extreme heat, or other natural threats. This agency has also utilized federal funds derived from an array of emergency management and homeland security sources to elevate and maintain readiness related the spectrum of potential threats.
Training and Requirements to Become an Emergency Management Professional in New Orleans, Louisiana
Due to its long history of natural disasters, many of New Orleans’ public and private organizations offer emergency management jobs. Professionals who possess strong backgrounds in engineering, meteorology, public administration, business continuity planning or public health are likely to find a wealth of emergency management jobs in New Orleans. Most of these jobs require applicants possess qualifications like:
- A bachelor’s or master’s degree in
- Emergency planning
- Homeland security
- Information technology
- Health administration
- Law enforcement
- At least five years of experience in emergency management, disaster preparedness or homeland security
- Ability to work with government, private sector and non-profit organizations
- Knowledge of EM programs like the National Response Framework and the National Incident Management System
- Experience developing or conducting EM training exercises or programs
The Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness offers a diverse selection of training courses for emergency management professionals in New Orleans. While many of these training modules are designed by FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute, some have been formulated to provide skills or knowledge applicable to local conditions. These courses include
- Bioterrorism: Mass Prophylaxis Preparedness and Planning
- Modular Emergency Response Radiological Transportation
- Introduction to CAMEO Suite
- Advanced Incident Command System
Disasters to Strike New Orleans
In 2005, New Orleans bore the brunt of Hurricane Katrina, a Category Three storm which inundated the city. The storm created ocean surges which surpassed 16 feet in height. These surges breached the flood levees that were intended to protect the city in more than 50 areas. Although the majority of the city was evacuated, almost 80 percent of the city was flooded, with some areas under 15 feet of water. This catastrophic occurrence claimed the lives of 1,464 people. Following the storm, there was widespread looting and violence. This was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, causing more than $81 billion in damage in addition to enormous disruption of the local economy and loss of jobs.
In addition to Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has been struck by almost 49 of 273 hurricanes to make landfall on the U.S. from 1851 through 2004. Among the most tragic storms to hit New Orleans was Hurricane Betsy in 1965 which had winds of 160 mph. This storm caused the deaths of 81 people and more than $1.4 billion in damage.