In Bexar County, the Fire Marshal’s Office (BCFMO) is responsible for emergency management planning and response. In addition to manning the county’s Emergency Operations Center, BCFMO also conducts studies on public safety and implements a variety of disaster preparedness programs. This agency actively recruits community volunteers to participate in disaster response training. The USAonWatch program is a nationwide program that utilizes community volunteers to monitor suspicious or criminal behavior and alert the proper authorities.
In response to numerous flooding events in the county, BCFMO has installed a $2.5 million system which monitors water levels of major rivers and waterways. The 52 sensor system is on 24 hours a day to help county emergency managers remain aware of flood conditions throughout an extreme weather event. Many of these sensors are strategically located around bridges and low lying areas to help managers alert drivers and residents to washed out roadways.
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Training and Requirements for Emergency Management Professionals in Bexar County, Texas
In Bexar County, emergency management jobs are available to qualified candidates who possess expertise in engineering, public health, criminal justice, information technology, or public administration. The majority of these jobs have requirements similar to the following:
- Graduation from an accredited college or university with a baccalaureate degree in
- Public health
- Business administration
- Public policy
- Urban planning
- Information technology
- At least five years of full time experience in disaster preparedness or emergency operations
- Knowledge of the National Incident Management System, Incident Command System or National Response Framework
- Ability to work with local, state or federal officials
- Ability to supervise emergency management professionals or programs
- Ability to design, test and implement emergency management training programs
- Effective verbal and written communication skills
Emergency Management Training and Certification
The Training Unit of the Texas Division of Emergency Management provides many of the emergency management courses in Bexar County, Texas. These courses include:
- An introduction to the National Incident Management System (NIMS)
- NIMS multi-agency coordination system
- Intermediate Incident Command System for expanding incidents
- Introduction to exercises
- Effective communication
- Developing and managing volunteers
The Emergency Management Institute is a federal agency that designs many emergency management courses and offers several widely respected accreditation programs including the Professional Development Series and the Advanced Professional Series.
The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) is another highly respected private organization that offers certifications for Certified Emergency Managers (CEM) and Associate Emergency Managers (AEM).
The Bexar County Winter Snowstorm of 2013
In February of 2013, Bexar County was subjected to an intense winter storm with hurricane force winds and temperatures in the single digits. The environmental conditions helped cause a massive residential fire that destroyed an apartment complex and killed several people. In response to the lethal conditions, the American Red Cross in partnership with county emergency management officials opened several warming shelters for people suffering from the cold or loss of residence.