Rapid City-Pennington County Emergency Management (RCPCEM) heads efforts in the county to prepare residents and government personnel for natural or technological disasters. RCPCEM has invested a considerable amount of time and resources in identifying potential vulnerabilities to environmental hazards including tornadoes, floods, wildfires and severe winter storms, or manmade hazards like chemical, biological, explosive or radiological weapons. RCPCEM has developed plans for major crises like civil unrest and mass casualty incidents.
Rapid City-Pennington County Emergency Management works with state and federal emergency systems to ensure the safety of county residents. This includes cooperation with the Emergency Alert System, which alerts residents to an impending or current crisis. These alerts are broadcast on television or radio and provide reliable information for residents that will optimize their safety. Pennington County also has 33 sirens that will alert residents should a tornado or severe weather event occur. These sirens are tested twice monthly to ensure proper operation.
Training and Requirements for Emergency Management Professionals in Pennington County, South Dakota
Emergency management jobs in Pennington County, South Dakota are found in a variety of professions including geology, public health, meteorology, business administration, and emergency planning. Employers will provide exact criteria for applicants, but most require qualifications similar to the following:
- A bachelor’s degree in
- Homeland security studies
- Emergency management
- Public health
- Business administration
- Public policy
- At least three years of experience in disaster preparedness operations
- Experience in supervising emergency management programs and personnel
- Familiarity with NIMS, HSEEP, ICS, and NRF
- Outstanding verbal and written communication abilities
The South Dakota Office of Emergency Management (OEM) offers a variety of training programs for EM professionals. These include
- Introduction to exercises
- Fundamentals of Emergency management
- Effective communication
- Leadership and influence
- Decision making and problem solving
The Emergency Management Institute is a federal agency that develops and distributes training materials to organizations across the country. This agency offers courses in
- Exercise design
- Exercise evaluation and improvement planning
- Multi-agency coordination system
- Emergency operations center management and operations
- Incident Command System for single resources and initial action incidents
Major Disasters in Pennington County
Pennington County has experienced numerous natural emergencies since 1950. There have been 17 heavy blizzards, 32 winter storms, 146 floods, and 1,637 thunderstorms recorded during this period. Seven tornadoes have occurred in Pennington County causing 33 injuries as well as millions of dollars of property damage.
The worst disaster in South Dakota history occurred in Pennington County. In 1972, 15 inches of rain fell in just six hours and caused the Rapid Creek to flood nearby areas including Rapid City. The enormous flood waters overwhelmed the Canyon Lake Dam, which failed. The resulting deluge killed 238 people and injured more than 3,057. More than 5,000 automobiles were destroyed as well as 1,335 homes. The estimated property damage was about $160 million.