The Travis County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is the county’s lead agency in coordinating disaster preparedness and response operations. OEM works closely with municipal, state and federal agencies to ensure that county residents receive optimal protection from environmental hazards like tornadoes, floods and wildfires as well as manmade events like radiological materials release, hazardous materials spills, or disease outbreaks.
Two of the most common environmental hazards to strike Travis County are windstorms and tornadoes. In order to help alert residents to conditions that could produce extreme weather, Austin and Travis County have installed 14 tornado-warning sirens. The emergency management officials of the many cities in Travis County have introduced exercises involving the warning sirens so that local residents will recognize the sirens and take appropriate action.
How to Become an Emergency Management Specialist Travis County, Texas
With the many private and governmental organizations in the area, there are plenty of emergency management jobs in Travis County, Texas. Professionals who have backgrounds in urban planning, meteorology, business administration, engineering and public health may find jobs in the area if they possess qualifications similar to the following:
- A bachelor’s degree in one of these fields
- Homeland security
- Terrorism studies
- Emergency management
- Urban planning
- Information technology
- Demonstrated ability supervising emergency response teams or programs
- Ability to work with government officials from municipal, state or federal organizations
- Ability to design and implement emergency management training programs
- Effective skills in written and oral communication
- Knowledge of federal, state and local laws regarding emergency management
- Knowledge of the National Response Framework, Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program, and National Incident Management System
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) offers many emergency management courses in Travis County, Texas including
- Introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS)
- Introduction to the National Incident Management System (NIMS)
- NIMS Multi-agency Coordination System (MACS)
- Introduction to the National Response Framework (NRF)
- Flood fight operations
- Community mass care management
In addition to state sponsored courses, many of the emergency management classes in Travis County, Texas are offered through federal agencies like the Emergency Management Institute (EMI). In addition to a wide array of classes, EMI also accredits graduates of specialized programs like NIMS Training, Professional Development Series and the Advanced Professional Series.
A History of Natural Disasters in Travis County
In 1997, a series of severe thunderstorms produced multiple tornado events across Travis County and central Texas. Reports indicate that 22 tornadoes were spawned across the state. A tornado killed one person and another drowned while trying to swim across a creek. In nearby Williamson County a Category F5 tornado touched down killing 27 people and injuring dozens of others. This is the only known incident involving an F5 tornado in Travis County.