Between 1950 and 2010, there were more than 14,000 extreme weather events in Douglas County, Nebraska, with hail events and thunderstorm winds making up the largest percentage, followed by floods.
But this area of Nebraska has also been affected by tornadoes, with 68 tornadoes with a magnitude of 2 or above occurring in and around Douglas County. The latest tornadoes in this region of Nebraska occurred in June and November 2008 and March 2009, thereby speaking to the need for qualified emergency management personnel who can respond to and recover from these potentially deadly and exceptionally dangerous storm events.
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Degree and Certification Requirements
Individuals interested in pursuing careers in emergency management should know that most local agencies within Douglas County require, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree from qualified candidates. Acceptable programs of study may include:
- Criminal Justice
- Emergency Management
- Public Administration
- Natural or Physical Science
- Urban Planning
- Public Health
Further, candidates for emergency management jobs in Douglas County are typically required to possess at least 3 years of experience working in an emergency management capacity. Some acceptable areas of experience may include working as a first responder or as an emergency assistant coordinator for a nonprofit for government entity.
Professional certification is often revered by employers seeking emergency management professionals with a comprehensive knowledge of emergency management. Individuals often possess one of the following professional certifications:
- The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Certified Emergency Manager (CEM)
- The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Associate Emergency Manager (AEM)
- FEMA Professional Development Series (PDS) Certificate
- FEMA Advanced Professional Series (APS) certificate
Emergency Management Training in Douglas County
Many employers in Douglas County, whether in the private or public sector, require emergency management professionals to earn, within the first year of employment, the State of Nebraska Basic Course in Emergency Management through the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) training program.
The training courses offered through NEMA support all state emergency management certification programs and FEMA’s Professional Development Series. The Basic Academy is offered at least once a year and is completed in one week.
Before entering the Academy, all emergency management professionals must complete an independent course of study, which includes the following courses:
- Emergency Managers Handbook
- EOC Operations & Management
- Exercise Planning & Evaluation
- Hazmat Awareness
- IMS Orientation
- Local Emergency Operations Plan (LEOP)
- Panel of Emergency Management Professionals
- Risk Assessment
- State Emergency Operations Plan (SEOP)
- Terrorism Preparedness
- The Emergency Management Profession
- Weather / Spotter Training
Individuals in emergency management may also earn the Advanced Emergency Management Certification, which is designed to build upon the basic certification skills for emergency management directors, assistant directors, and NEMA employees.
The Advanced Emergency Management Certification program includes the following courses:
- Continuity of Operations
- Decision Making and Problem Solving
- Effective Communication / Presentation Skills
- Exercise Development
- Leadership and Influence
Emergency Management and Homeland Security in Douglas County
Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties have developed coordinated system for Homeland Security in the Omaha metropolitan area. The Douglas County Emergency Management Agency partners with local jurisdictions, nonprofit and private sector organizations to establish a disaster-resilient community
The Douglas County Emergency Management Agency, which includes a director, an assistant director, and an emergency management specialist, operates the Douglas County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which is an underground facility used to coordinate disasters and emergencies. The EOC is a 25,000-square-foot facility that includes more than 50 dedicated phone lines, organizational meeting and situational briefing rooms, a 9-1-1 dispatching center, and a communications room, where volunteers can facilitate communications during emergencies.