The location of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania lends itself to a wide variety of weather patterns and extremes. Located in the northeast area of the country, below the Great Lakes region, Pennsylvania is prone to cold winters, often with significant snow and ice events, while its location near the east coast makes it vulnerable to the tropical storms and hurricanes that often develop in the late, summer months.
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In fact, Pennsylvania’s disaster declarations in recent years have been related directly to the tropical storms and hurricanes that have made their way up the East Coast:
- Hurricane Sandy – October 2012
- Tropical Storm Lee – September 2011
- Hurricane Irene – August 2011
Emergency management specialists may find a wealth of professional opportunities in Pennsylvania, as is evident by the May 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics report that ranked the Harrisburg –Carlisle, PA area of Pennsylvania as the top metropolitan area in the country for employment of emergency management. The BLS reported that the annual, mean wage for emergency management specialists in this region was $45,520, with a .0718 employment rate (per thousand workers).
Emergency Management Educational Opportunities
Individuals seeking emergency management careers in Pennsylvania are sure to find a number of degree opportunities here, including:
- Bachelor of Arts in Geography with an Emergency Management concentration
- Associate’s degree in Emergency Management
- Master of Science in Emergency Management
- Associate of applied science degree in Emergency Management
- Graduate certificate in Disaster Preparedness
- Master of Science degree in Disaster Medicine and Management
- Certificate in Emergency Management with Special Populations
- Graduate minor in Civil Security and Disaster Management
Undergraduate coursework in emergency management often includes:
- Infrastructure Disaster Recovery
- Security Risk and Assessment
- Incident Response Best Practices
- Security Defense Countermeasures
- Security Policies
- Security Management Practice
- Disaster Recovery and Continuity Planning
- Search and Rescue
- Critical Incident Stress Management
The curriculum of an emergency management graduate degree program often includes the following courses:
- Principles and Practice of Emergency Management
- Technical and Professional Writing for Emergency Management
- Social Dimensions of Disaster
- Emergency Mental Health and Trauma
- Natural Hazards Primer
- Emergency Preparedness for Industry
- Theoretical Perspectives and Methods Applied to Emergency Management
Emergency Management Training and Certification in Pennsylvania
Professional certification is often pursued by emergency management professionals who want to gain valuable recognition in their profession. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association offers the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Coordinator certification program.
Pennsylvania law requires that emergency management coordinators at all levels of government earn two levels of certification, and these levels of certification rely heavily on the training offered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association.
Basic certification requires training in the following courses:
- The Duties and Responsibilities of an Emergency Management Coordinator
- The Work Environment of an Emergency Management Coordinator
- Initial Damage Reporting Course
- ICS/EOC Interface Course
- Multiple Death Response and Coordination Course
- Hazardous Weather and Flooding Preparedness Course
Professional Opportunities in Emergency Management
Between state organizations and private entities, there is a myriad of professional opportunities for emergency management specialists in Pennsylvania:
- Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association (PEMA): PEMA works to protect property and the environment and reduce suffering and save lives by coordinating commonwealth agencies and resources. PEMA provides disaster assistance through a number of programs and services through: hazard mitigation, 911 services, nuclear power plant safety, and hazardous material preparedness.
- MCM Consulting Group, Inc. (MCM): MCM is a private consulting firm dedicated to providing services to government, healthcare, and public safety communities. MCM, which is located in Pittsburgh (McMurray), PA, specializes in public safety telecommunication and emergency management consulting.
- Contingency Management Consulting Group (CMCG): CMCG is a crisis and emergency management consulting firm that specializes in risk management, corporate crisis management, emergency response, and security and environmental health and safety management services. CMCG has offices in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania (near Harrisburg).
- Delta Development Group: Located in Wexford (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, the Delta Development Group has a Disaster Preparedness Solutions (DPS) Team that provides emergency management solutions through planning, training, and exercises.