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Emergency Management Careers in Seattle, Washington

Besides being in the shadow of Mount Rainier, a still active volcano, and lying on top of and around fault lines that have triggered magnitude seven earthquakes in the past, emergency management officials in Seattle are prepared for such natural and manmade events as:

  • Winter storms
  • Tsunamis
  • Pandemics
  • Wind storms
  • Terrorist attacks

The range of threats posed to the city means an equally broad range of specialists and teams needed to counter these challenges. The Seattle Office of Emergency Management (OEM) manages just this, coordinating various governmental departments and professionals to mount effective mitigation actions and response in the face of natural or man-made disasters. In recent history Seattle has experience civil unrest, an earthquake, severe winter and windstorms, urban structure fires, and several tsunami alerts.


Planning for Emergency Management Careers in Seattle

Emergency management careers in Seattle can require everything from volunteer experience to a master degree in emergency management. Having a career goal in a particular field is the first step towards employment in emergency management in the Seattle area. The next step is to find out what qualifications and prerequisites are detailed in the descriptions of emergency management jobs. These can range from emergency management certifications obtained through specified courses to university programs and emergency management degrees.

Throughout the Seattle metropolitan area there are a number of institutions of higher education, both online and with campus locations, offering associate and bachelor degrees in emergency management. An associate’s degree will include:

  • Fundamentals of emergency management
  • Government jurisdictions
  • History of emergency management
  • Technological advances in the emergency management field

A four-year bachelor degree in emergency management will expand on the solid foundation created by the two-year program, allowing students to specialize in areas such as:

  • Mass casualties
  • Natural disasters
  • Pandemics
  • Technology and communication systems
  • Logistics and resource distribution

Specialists interested in working in the emergency management field come from many different backgrounds:

  • Information Technology
  • Geologists
  • Nursing and other healthcare backgrounds
  • Meteorologists
  • Communications
  • Business
  • Criminal justice

Emergency Management Training, Certification, and Public Education in Seattle

The OEM provides the following emergency management training courses open to members of the public:

  • Earthquake home retrofit
  • Utility/household preparedness class
  • Basic and disaster first aid
  • Light search and rescue

The Seattle Fire Department works closely with the OEM, conducting joint emergency management training operations in search and rescue, mass casualty situations, and widespread fires. The fire department offers emergency management certification courses in:

  • Adult and child CPR
  • AED and CPR classes
  • Hazardous materials
  • Rescue and collapse
  • Marine firefighting

Officials from Seattle’s police, fire, and health departments conduct regular training exercises in association with the Washington State Emergency Management Division, including:

  • Radiological emergency preparedness
  • Incident Command Systems
  • Disaster life support
  • High-risk population disaster planning
  • Debris management

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