Emergency Management Careers in St. Paul, Minnesota

Minnesota is prone to a variety of natural disasters, and St. Paul’s location on the Mississippi River makes it particularly susceptible to damage from flooding.  Emergency management efforts to mitigate the risk of flooding have helped the city prepare for future floods and minimize the damage as much as possible.

The city also faces potential damage from manmade threats.  A number of facilities that handle hazardous chemicals are located by the river, making them potentially dangerous in times of flooding.  Also, the State Capitol buildings are located in St. Paul, bringing some risk of terrorism to the city.

The government of St. Paul employs both emergency management specialists and an emergency management director at its Department of Emergency Management.  Specialists are paid from $47,450 to $66,876 a year, while the director can make up to $111,889.  Additional emergency management jobs in St. Paul are available from the state, which has the Office of Emergency Preparedness and the Office of Pipeline Safety located in the city, or from private companies such as hospitals and those that handle potentially hazardous chemicals.

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Requirements for an Emergency Management Career in St. Paul

There are different options for careers in emergency management in St. Paul, depending on an applicant’s level of education and experience.  Emergency management specialists typically must have either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, depending on their years of professional work experience.

The position of emergency management director for St. Paul requires a bachelor’s degree in emergency management or a related field.  Candidates must also undergo a background check and expect to maintain a security clearance.

Residents of the Twin Cities can earn an emergency management advanced technical certificate from a school located near Minneapolis.  Another option is to obtain training in emergency management from an online school specializing in this area.  Students can obtain online degrees ranging from an associate’s to a doctoral.

The Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) Division of the state’s Department of Public Safety provides certification to those who have obtained the coursework necessary for advanced skills in emergency management.  St. Paul requires that its emergency management director have and maintain this certification.

The state has identified two primary categories of skills that emergency managers need to have to succeed.  The first are those of organizational management, and the second group is skills specific to the field of disaster and emergency management.  The latter group encompasses a variety of areas, some of which include:

  • Planning and Risks
  • Training and Exercise
  • Mitigation and Prevention
  • Protection
  • Response and Recovery
  • Resources
  • Collaboration and Coordination

The HSEM provides several different types of certification.  The highest level certifies emergency managers, and candidates must be sponsored to apply.  There is now a new certificate track for response and support personnel.  A third track is for elected or appointed officials.

Natural Disasters in St. Paul

Flooding – The Mississippi River runs along St. Paul for seventeen miles, threatening the city periodically as it surges from melting snow and spring rains.  The neighborhoods of Lowertown and Upper Landing are at particular risk of flood damage, and the river has been flooding more frequently in recent years.

The government of St. Paul has made planning for future floods a priority of its emergency response preparations.  Floodwalls are erected at the airport when flooding is expected.  The city tracks the stage of the river at a flood preparations website that also has a live cam of the river.

Tornadoes – The odds of a tornado striking St. Paul are greater than that for Minnesota as a whole.  Particularly damaging tornadoes were the Hugo tornado of 2008 and the Twin Cities Tornado Outbreak of six different tornadoes in 1965.  One person died in 2008, while fourteen people in the Twin Cities area were killed in 1965.

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