Its several rivers as well as its location on the Atlantic Ocean have made Boston and the rest of Suffolk County a prime location for certain natural disasters. Between 1950 and 2010, it has had 836 floods, 1,604 hail storms, 256 heavy snow incidents, 27 tornadoes and two serious tropical storms. Nor has Suffolk County escaped manmade disasters, the most recent being the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that resulted in three deaths and 264 injuries.
Suffolk does not have a county emergency management office; however, the cities of Boston and Winthrop both have active emergency management departments that work with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) during disasters and emergencies in Massachusetts.
Federal, state and local governments are not the only sources of jobs for emergency management specialists. In Suffolk County, there are career opportunities with large corporations, utilities companies, medical facilities and educational institutions.
Requirements for a Job as Emergency Management Specialist
As an example of standard requirements, the following qualifications were listed for employment as the Emergency Management Program Director for Harvard University:
- At least a bachelor’s degree
- Four years emergency management experience
- Experience in project research
- Strong interpersonal teamwork skills
- Proficiency in MS Office programs (Word, Excel, Power Point)
- Knowledge of mass notification systems
- Experience with disaster relief organizations
- Ability to interact with first responders
- Certification in Emergency Management
This particular career opportunity has a pay scale of between $60,200/ to $100,200/year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary for an emergency management director in Massachusetts is $67,230.
Emergency Management in Winthrop, MA
Fire Chief Paul Flanigan heads the Winthrop emergency management planning committee which strives to ensure that Winthrop has the trained personnel and the needed equipment to respond adequately to potential emergency situations. The committee has also produced and distributed brochures on general emergency readiness, Winthrop’s evacuation plan, hurricane preparedness and pandemic flu information.
Emergency Management in Boston, MA
The Boston Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is dedicated to supplementing the efforts of MEMA to ensure that Boston is as well prepared for a wide range of potential emergencies as possible. Their effectiveness was borne out by the city’s quick and efficient response to the Marathon bombing. Other specific accomplishments of the Boston Office of Emergency Management include:
- “Alert Boston” – a citywide emergency notification system
- Family Preparedness Planner – booklet on how families should prepare for such emergencies as floods, extreme heat, windstorms, etc.
- Citizen Corps Council – Key group of city leaders who educate and train citizens so they will be prepared to respond effectively to threats from terrorism, crime, public health issues or natural disasters.
- Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) – Volunteers trained to provide assistance in a disaster; both before and after first responders arrive.