Emergency Management Careers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is responsible for ensuring that the city is ready for emergencies of any kind by implementing an integrated and collaborative program. This program is designed to educate the public, help to coordinate efforts with other organizations and agencies, and mitigate the impact of emergencies, thereby helping the city recover from an emergency. Within the last five years, the Philadelphia OEM has been activated many times:

  • Superstorm Sandy, 2012
  • Hurricane Irene, 2011
  • Four winter storms, 2009-2010
  • SEPTA Transit Strike, 2009
  • Tropical Storm Hanna, September 2008
  • I-95 Partial Closure, March 2008


Emergency Management Education and Degree Requirements

A career in emergency management often means pursuing a bachelor’s degree in emergency management or a closely related program. Emergency management bachelor degrees vary, thereby allowing individuals to focus their education on specific areas of emergency management:

  • Bachelor of Emergency Management Services
  • Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Emergency Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Most emergency management employers look to professional experience when hiring emergency management personnel. Therefore, individuals in this field seek experience as first responders or emergency management assistants to obtain this crucial experience.

Training and Certification for Emergency Management Personnel in Philadelphia

Training and certification are important components for emergency management jobs in Philadelphia. As such, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s (PEMA) Training Division provides professional development training and technical training throughout the Commonwealth.

Technical training through PEMA involves radiological defense and/or nuclear-biological-chemical subjects. Professional development training is provided to all members of the public safety community and includes classes that are designed to help these professionals perform their jobs.

PEMA also administers the statewide Emergency Exercise program and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Coordinator certification program. Pennsylvania law requires that emergency management coordinators earn two levels of certification, which is most often achieved through PEMA and FEMA.

Basic PEMA certification includes the following courses:

  • Hazardous Weather and Flooding Preparedness Course
  • ICS/EOC Interface Course
  • Initial Damage Reporting Course
  • Multiple Death Response and Coordination Course
  • The Duties and Responsibilities of an Emergency Management Coordinator
  • The Work Environment of an Emergency Management Coordinator

The Mission of Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM)

The Philadelphia OEM and its staff of highly trained emergency management professionals are called upon to:

  • Conduct training and exercises to better evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programs
  • College and analyze incident information
  • Oversee the development of programs to deal with large-scale disasters and emergencies in Philadelphia
  • Educate the public through programs and public information
  • Coordinate all response activities before, during and after emergencies
  • Obtain funding to support emergency management in Philadelphia

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