During the summer of 2011 many cities in Texas saw their monthly average daily temperatures around or above 100 degrees. In response, local and federal emergency management organizations provided more than $63 million to assist with drought relief and the resulting spate of wildfires, helping devastated citizens and businesses get back on their feet after heavy or total losses. Emergency management personnel also assisted in the damage assessment and cleanup after the recent fertilizer plant explosion in West, which registered as a 2.1-magnitude earthquake on a seismograph about 20 miles away.
Dedicated emergency management professionals in Texas not only provide the state with extra help when needed, they also provide a specialized level of expertise and organization during and after emergency situations. Emergency management environmental protection specialists recently visited the site of the massive explosion at the West Fertilizer Company to determine if any hazardous gasses were leaking into the surrounding community and to test for substances that could indicate a possible terrorist attack. While those agents were checking for contamination, a hazard mitigation crew was at work assessing if there were any other unstable chemicals that could cause secondary explosions. The Texas Division of Emergency Management in Austin, which supports many of the emergency management jobs in Texas, was largely responsible for spearheading this operation.
Aside from numerous wildfires, an oil spill, and a fertilizer plant explosion, emergency management directors have also declared major disasters in the state in the past six years for three hurricanes – Alex, Ike, and Dolly – two severe storms with the presence of tornadoes, Tropical Storm Erin, and for one flooding event.
Preparing for a Career in Emergency Management
Some emergency management jobs in Texas are available to independent contractors in the private sector, while others are reserved for those with local experience, such as those who contributed to the clean up after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. In all cases, a relevant education is the starting point for a career in emergency management. Many in the field hold degrees in:
- B.A. in Homeland Security
- Master of Business Administration
- D.BA in Homeland Security Leadership and Policy
- Master’s in Public Administration
- B.S. In Human Services
Emergency Management Careers in Texas
With more than 300 separate job titles related to emergency management there is no shortage of education, experience, and training requirements for those interested in joining the ranks of county, state and federal emergency management organizations. There is also no shortage of opportunities for promotions and career advancement.
Emergency management careers in Texas are varied and include specializations in the following areas:
- Geospatial Information Systems
- Flood Hazard Mapping
- Environmental and Historic Preservation
- Private Sector Liaison
- Tribal Affairs
- Human Resources
- Training and Development