Albuquerque was just one of many areas of New Mexico recently hit with a major drought. As of March 2013, the USDA designated 12 counties in New Mexico as primary natural disaster areas. Further, wildfires are still a major concern for the citizens of Albuquerque, with recent fires wreaking havoc on parts of the Santa Fe National Forest and Jemez Mountains.
Albuquerque’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) pro-actively plans for all hazards, both manmade and natural, and help prepare Albuquerque residents and organizations to respond to and recover from any emergency, including terrorism. The OEM, in an effort to protect the lives and properties of the residents of Albuquerque:
- Reduces local threats
- Meets future threats through preparedness
- Responds to incidents
- Directs recovery operations
Education and Training Requirements
The most direct path to a career in emergency management includes earning a bachelor’s degree or higher in emergency management or a closely related field, such as public administration, public health or urban planning. Just a few of the careers in emergency management that individuals seek include:
Emergency Management Specialist – Emergency management specialists are called upon to plan, organize and evaluate the effectiveness of an emergency operations program. They are also often the most visible emergency management professionals during times of disaster, as they are tasked with providing direction to, and coordinating with, other emergency agencies.
Emergency Management Director – Emergency management directors must ensure that the emergency management program is cohesive, efficient, and highly effective. These top-level emergency management professionals are called upon to ensure the successful implementation of the emergency management plan and maintain close communications with other associated organizations and agencies throughout all phases of an emergency plan.
Most jobs in emergency management also require at least 3 years of professional experience so many professionals in this field obtain the necessary experience by working as first responders or by working for nonprofit agencies in administrative capacities.
Emergency Management Certification in Albuquerque
The New Mexico Emergency Management Association offers the New Mexico Certified Emergency Manager (NMCEM) designation. This program, which was introduced in 1997, models the IAEM Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) requirements. It is designed to increase the professional scope of emergency management coordination in New Mexico.
Certification is not mandated but strongly encouraged. To qualify for certification, individuals must possess at least three years of emergency experience or at least 18 months as an emergency management professional. Further, candidates must have completed FEMA’s Professional Development Series and completed at least 50 hours of classroom emergency management courses.
Renewal of the NMCEM certification is due every two years, and individuals must complete at least 30 hours of emergency management classroom training and must show professional contributions during the renewal period to be eligible for re-certification.
Emergency Training in Albuquerque
Emergency management professionals are required to complete a number of training sessions and exercises through the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The OEM has developed a three-year exercise and training program that includes:
- Training and refresher courses for all EOC personnel every year
- Participation in exercises and support for other local, state and federal agencies
- As many as three federal or state-sponsored training sessions every year
- EOC exercises to keep all 40-member teams in the EOC full trained