In the past few decades Worcester County experienced 1,186 floods, 2,229 hail storms, 329 heavy-snow incidents, two tropical storms and 32 tornadoes, including the mile-wide tornado of June 9, 1953 that killed 90 people and injured 1,228 others when it ravaged the city. Another serious tornado in 1979 resulted in three fatalities and 500 injuries.
Emergency Management Requirements and Opportunities in Worcester County
An entry-level job in emergency management requires a bachelor’s degree in emergency management or a bachelor’s degree in a related field along with emergency management certification. Management positions require several years’ experience in the field. All emergency management professionals must be reliable, exhibit personal integrity and be able to work under stressful conditions.
There are 39 higher education institutions in Worcester County, several of which offer bachelor’s, master’s and certificates in emergency management. Worcesterites can also take advantage of numerous accredited online college/universities that offer emergency management degrees.
Potential emergency management employers in Worcester County include:
- City of Worcester
- Worcester County Public Health Department
- American Red Cross
- Public school system
- Large corporations
- Hospitals/medical facilities
Emergency Management in Worcester
The Emergency Management Division of the City of Worcester is responsible for the development, coordination and implementation of plans and procedures for responding to emergencies/disasters of any kind in the Worcester area. Its functions include:
- Develops and implements multi-hazard, risk-based emergency management and training programs designed to establish a “disaster-resilient” community and citizenry.
- Maintains “ALERTWorcester,” a disaster notification system that advises Worcesterites of such emergency situations as severe weather, evacuation notices, road closures, etc. ALERTWorcester utilizes land/cell phones, email, text messages and hearing-impaired receiving devices.
- Coordinates disaster response with federal and state agencies as well as first responders, non-profit organizations, local businesses, community leaders, hospital personnel and citizen volunteers.
- Activates preparedness plans/procedures for businesses and persons with disabilities.
- Identifies, assesses and mitigates hazards in Worcester County.
The Worcester County Health Department’s Emergency Preparedness Team prepares and protects county residents against hazardous health/medical situations. The team provides the public with educational material about health hazards/situations and coordinates emergency support functions related to a public health emergency such as an outbreak of avian flu.
Emergency Management Careers in Worcester County, MA
The general functions of an emergency management specialist include:
- Coordinating a response to a disaster or other emergency situation
- Providing disaster preparedness education and training
- Developing emergency plans/procedures
There are currently 180 people working as emergency management professionals in Massachusetts and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a six percent growth rate or 190 emergency management jobs by 2016. The average annual salary of emergency management professionals in Worcester County, MA is $67,110 as compared to $50,460/year for the U.S. as a whole.