Emergency Management Careers in Portland, Oregon

The City of Portland’s 2010 Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan (NHMP) identified eight natural hazards on which the Portland Office of Emergency Management focuses its efforts (in order of impact and frequency of occurrence):

  1. Earthquake
  2. Severe weather
  3. Flood
  4. Landslide
  5. Erosion
  6. Wildland urban interface fire
  7. Invasive plant species
  8. Volcanic activity

Recent research shows that the Cascadia Subduction Zone, along the Pacific Coast, is capable of producing a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, which alarms geologists because of Portland’s proximity to the Pacific Coast. Another major concern is the severe weather pattern shifts, such as three major snowstorms in December 2008 (described as one of the most severe pattern of winter storms to hit the area in 60 years), followed by a record-breaking heat wave in July 2009.

The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management works to minimize the impact on the community and “promote a culture of resiliency.”  Educated and trained emergency management professionals are crucial to the effective operations of the Bureau of Emergency Management.

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Emergency Management Careers in Portland, Oregon: Education Requirements

Regardless of whether jobs in emergency management are in the private or public sector, most employers seek individuals with a four-year program culminating in a bachelor’s degree in emergency management or a closely related program, such as disaster/crisis management, public administration, or urban planning.

Additionally, experience is also a must for emergency management personnel, with many employers seeking candidates with at least three years of experience in the field of emergency management or first response.

The PBEM staff includes the following emergency management personnel:

  • Director
  • Office Specialist
  • Public Information Officer
  • Operations Manger
  • Program Specialist
  • Planning and Preparedness Manager
  • Program Coordinator


Emergency Management Training in Portland

The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) offers training classes and programs that focus on the City’s Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) and its functions. In addition, PBEM offers coursework related to the Incident Command System (ICS).

Just a few of the programs offered by the PBEM for ECC responders and emergency management personnel include:

  • Introduction to the ECC
  • ECC Coordination Section Training
  • ECC Logistics Section Training
  • ECC Planning Section Training
  • ECC Finance Section Training


Professional Certification in Portland for Emergency Management Professionals

Professional certification among emergency management personnel in Portland is also strongly encouraged, with the Oregon Certified Emergency Management Program (ORCEMS) created to maintain professional standards and to certify achievement within the profession.

The Professional Development Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) is administered by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) to raise and maintain professional standards.

The Oregon Certified Emergency Management Specialist is a professional certification that requires extensive documentation regarding the candidate’s qualifications, experience and training. Individuals must show proof of their CEM designation, documentation of contributions to the profession, emergency management continuing education and general management training, and professional recommendations. Candidates must also complete an essay to qualify for the Certified Emergency Management Specialist certification.

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