Montana is a scenic and rocky state that often experiences natural disasters like earthquakes, wildfires, floods and sever snowstorms. In one of the most lethal natural disasters in the state’s history, a 7.3 earthquake struck the Yellowstone area. This caused an enormous rockslide that killed 28 people and caused almost $11 million in damage.
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In June 2013, fifteen counties and two tribal reservations were declared emergency areas by Governor Steve Bullock following widespread flooding. Torrential rainfall caused waterways and reservoirs to top their banks and flood homes, roads and other infrastructure. This follows flooding disasters in 2010 and 2011, which displaced almost 300 people from their homes and caused more than $8.6 million in damages.
Training and Qualifications to Become an Emergency Management Professional
Education Requirements – Due to the prevalence of natural disasters in the state’s history, many of the public and private organizations in the state provide emergency management jobs in Montana. A local university posted an opening for Emergency Management Coordinator with the following minimum requirements:
- Possession of a bachelor’s degree
- Three years of experience in emergency management, policy and practices
- Experience coordinating emergency operations for large organizations
- Knowledge of the National Incident Management System
- Expansive knowledge of the current methods and developments in the EM field
- Knowledge of EM practices, operations, standards and regulations of federal, local and state agencies
- Knowledge of database computer systems
- Ability to use technology in presentations
- Possession of a Montana driver’s license
- Preference for certification as Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) or Associate Emergency Manager (AEM)
Certification Options – One of the most prestigious and widely recognized certification programs in the EM industry is the one offered by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). IAEM offers the CEM and the AEM certification tracks. In order to obtain accreditation, students must complete the preparation course and pass a multiple choice exam. Recertification every five years is required to maintain this accreditation.
Montana Emergency Management Agencies
The lead agency in Montana’s efforts to protect the public from natural and manmade emergencies is the Montana Department of Disaster and Emergency Services (DES). This department operates a number of units including the Critical Incident Stress Management Network (CISM). CISM is an organization manned by volunteers who assist victims and witnesses of critical incidents with the emotional trauma that may often result. These services are meant to remedy the normal post-traumatic stress that many public officials and first responders experience following a fatal emergency.
Another agency that Montana utilizes to protect the public is the Public Health and Safety Division. These health care providers and public health officials use a variety of tools including public education, free clinics and disease investigations to prevent the outbreak of illnesses and curtail other health risks. This department works with local and state agencies to limit exposure to toxic materials in the environment following flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes or fires.