As home to Boston, the largest city in New England, Massachusetts is a very important state and a prime target for criminal organizations. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state’s head agency in preparing for and responding to natural, terrorist and public health emergencies. MEMA operates a number of specialized units that provide planning, preparation and response strategies including the Nuclear Preparedness Department. While there is only one nuclear power plant in Massachusetts, there are a number in the region that could detriment state residents if a breach occurred. The Nuclear Preparedness Department provides training, equipment and public awareness to residents who live in close vicinity to these nuclear installations.
The Operations Division of MEMA supervises a number of units including the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Emergency Support Function Team (ESFT). The ESFT is a multi-agency unit with members from local, state, federal and private organizations. These organizations all have representation at the EOC and provide input during emergency operations.
How to Become an Emergency Management Professional in Massachusetts
There are a variety of public and private organizations that have considerable prestige and strategic importance. One of these is the illustrious Harvard University which recently posted the following requirements for an Emergency Preparedness Coordinator:
- Possession of a baccalaureate degree
- Four or more years of experience in business continuity planning or emergency management
- Superior team, customer service and interpersonal skills
- Experience EM program design, research and implementation
- Excellent organizational, communication and presentation skills
- Ability to multi-task and problem solve
- Ability to work independently
- Ability to adapt to changing program needs and responsibilities
- Certification in one or more of the following
- Knowledge of mass notification systems, social media and other emergency communications systems
- Experience with first responders and disaster relief organizations
Training for Emergency Management Careers in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency supports a Training and Exercise Unit. This unit offers workshops, seminars, and exercise support to communities throughout the state. This unit also provides specialized training through the National Training Education Division, a federal collaboration from the Department of Homeland Security and National Preparedness Directorate. Emergency management courses in Massachusetts fall into three categories:
- Awareness—provide introduction to skills necessary to recognize and report emergencies
- Performance—train first responders who implement safeguards, rescue victims or manage emergencies
- Management & planning—provide design instruction for managers and coordinators who oversee major emergencies
Major Emergencies in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has been the recipient of one of the most horrifying terrorist emergencies in U.S. history. The bombing of the Boston Marathon in April of 2013 killed three people and injured 264 others. The resulting manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers virtually locked down much of the metropolitan Boston area. After the death of the older brother and the murder of a MIT police officer, the younger brother was captured by local and federal authorities.