The Worcester Emergency Management Division (WEMD) coordinates hazard mitigation and disaster response programs throughout the city of Worcester. As required by federal law, the WEMD maintains an all-hazard prevention and response plan that details city activities during and following a natural or man-made disaster. In addition to the comprehensive planning that is conducted by the WEMD, this agency also manages a variety of EM programs that raise public safety and heighten readiness.
Alert Worcester is an early warning system designed to notify residents if there are natural or civil emergencies. These alerts may be transmitted via home phone, cell phone, email or text message. Alert Worcester is activated when an event like a hurricane, road closure, or missing child occurs.
Should a major disaster strike the city, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) becomes the command center for city wide response activities. Emergency management personnel who have advanced training in coordinating disaster response or communicating with state and federal partners man the EOC. The EOC is maintained 24 hours a day at varying levels of activation. Level 3 requires minimal staff and monitors city operations, while level 2 is a partial activation which alerts key personnel a disaster could be occurring. Level 1 denotes full activation in which a full staff manages civil operations in response to a major emergency.
Training and Requirements for Emergency Management Professionals in
The number of natural disasters to strike Worcester, Massachusetts is considerably higher than the national average for towns or cities. Since disasters have been recorded in the U.S., Worcester has experience 20 major natural disasters, while the average town has experienced only 12. This heightened susceptibility has engendered a large number of emergency management jobs in Worcester, Massachusetts, especially for professionals who have expertise in law enforcement, geology, meteorology, engineering or information systems. The most common requirements for jobs in the area include:
- A bachelor’s or master’s degree in
- Public administration
- Homeland security
- Emergency planning
- Public health
- At least three years of experience in emergency management or disaster preparedness
- Knowledge of National Incident Management System and National Response Framework
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) offers a wide variety of training and certification programs for emergency management professionals in Worcester, Massachusetts. These include the Professional Development Series and NIMS courses which include:
- Continuity programs
- Integrated preparedness
- Emergency communications
- Disaster logistics
- Incident management
- Operational planning
- Public disaster communications
- Hazard mitigation
MEMA also regularly conducts training simulations based on federal templates for natural or other disasters.
Natural Disasters in Worcester
In one of the worst tornado events in U.S. history, Worcester was the site of a Category F4 tornado in 1953. The tornado touched down just 14 miles outside of the city center and killed 90 people. Another 1,228 people were injured and the resulting damage from the tornado event was estimated at between $50 and $500 million.