Being a largely desert state, there are relatively few natural emergencies common to Nevada except earthquakes and dust storms. The Nevada Division of Emergency Management (DEM) is the state agency responsible for preparing public and private organizations as well as the general public for natural and manmade threats. The command and control center for DEM during an emergency is the Emergency Operating Center (EOC). The EOC allows coordinators to transmit information and directions to field operatives while, in turn, obtaining real time intelligence about conditions.
Following a disaster, the Recovery Section of DEM assists victims as they attempt to rebuild their lives. Recovery personnel provide information about state, federal and local agencies that may be able to provide material or financial assistance, as well as information about non-governmental organizations that can offer disaster relief. This unit is also a key partner to local communities and governments who are attempting to secure federal or state aid in rebuilding damaged or destroyed public infrastructure.
Major Disasters in Nevada
One of the most damaging emergencies in Nevada’s history was the PEPCON industrial disaster that occurred in 1988. A fire broke out at the facility that produces ammonium perchlorate, or rocket fuel, eventually leading to a massive explosion that killed two employees and injured 372 others. The destruction extended almost ten miles from the facility, and sparked disaster plan implementation due to the extreme combustibility of facility materials. The ultimate damage was estimated at more than $100 million.
In June of 2013, Nevada experienced the highest heat wave on record, with temperatures soaring up to 130 degrees in some areas. In Las Vegas, one man was killed and dozens more were hospitalized due to heat stroke. In some places, the heat has actually destroyed roads due to expansion and buckling. High temperatures have also contributed to wildfires.
How to Become an Emergency Management Specialist in Nevada
Nevada provides numerous employment opportunities for emergency management professionals. The City of Henderson recently posted an opening for an Emergency Management Officer with a salary between $65,744 and $105,563 per year. The minimum qualifications for this job included:
- Bachelor of science degree in Business, Public Administration, Emergency Management or related field
- At least three years of experience in professional level management support
- At least two years of experience in emergency management program development
- Possession of a valid driver’s license
- Preference is granted to applicants with a Certified Emergency Manager credential.
The Nevada DEM offers state sponsored courses and provides courses from federal agencies as well. These emergency management classes in Nevada may include:
- Basic Incident Command System
- Multi-Agency Coordination
- Public Assistance Operations
- Preliminary Damage Assessment and Debris Management
The International Association of Emergency Managers offers a highly reputed certification program that is the industry standard. The Certified Emergency Manager program includes a preparatory course followed by a comprehensive examination. Recertification every five years is mandatory.