The Dallas County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) is responsible for ensuring the safety of county residents, their property and critical infrastructure. In 2009, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security designated the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area as a Tier One community due to the presence of industries and facilities critical to national security. The added responsibility has helped HSEM become a model for emergency management organizations around the country.
In order to maintain optimal preparedness, HSEM conducts ongoing assessments of local facilities and structures, prepares recommendations for hazard mitigation, and conducts tests to ensure feasibility and effectiveness. These phases of readiness and response are reviewed on an annual basis and whenever new information or resources becomes available.
Degree and Training and Requirements for Emergency Management Professionals in Dallas County, Texas
Due to its proclivity for natural disasters and its importance as a major U.S. metropolitan area, Dallas County presents numerous employment opportunities for emergency management specialists in the fields of public health, engineering, urban planning, information technology and business management. The exact qualifications for these jobs is dependent upon the hiring organization, but most require applicants to possess qualifications similar to these:
- Have a bachelor’s degree in
- Homeland security studies
- Business administration
- Terrorism studies
- Public health
- Information technology
- From five to ten years of full time experience in emergency management or homeland security
- Experience supervising emergency management programs and personnel
- Familiarity with the National Incident Management System, Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program and Incident Command System
- Demonstrated ability to work with personnel from all levels of government and the private sector
The Texas Division of Emergency Management provides many of the emergency management courses in Dallas County, Texas. Many of these courses were designed by federal agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency or their sister organization, the Emergency Management Institute. These courses include
- An introduction to exercises
- Emergency planning
- Leadership and influence
- Developing and managing volunteers
- Fundamentals of emergency management
- An introduction to hazardous materials
- Building for the earthquakes of tomorrow
Dallas County’s History of Major Disasters
According to The New York Times, Dallas is ranked highest among U.S. cities for risk of a natural disaster like tornadoes, hail, flood, wildfire or hurricanes. Since 1950, Dallas County has been the site of 123 tornadoes with a magnitude of Category Two or higher. One of the most destructive was a Category Four tornado that touched down in Lancaster in 1994; this tornado event killed three people injured 48 and caused almost $500,000 in damage.
In May of 2013, a series of tornadoes touched down in Dallas County area. One of the most powerful was an EF-4 category twister that had winds from 166 to 200 mph. The tornadoes killed six people and injured at least one hundred others. Widespread property damage was also reported.