Emergency management officials are constantly training and preparing for all likely – and many unlikely – disasters, such as the one’s that have struck West Virginia in the past. Emergency management training in West Virginia helps to bring out any unforeseen problems when the various government and private-sector agencies collaborate, while also giving them a chance to hone the strengths they gain from working together. Training is important because when a real disaster comes, emergency management forces need to be at their best.
And disaster does strike West Virginia all too often, usually in the form of flooding, mudslides, snowstorms, and severe weather events including hurricanes. Most recently, the state saw the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy in November 2012. This was an opportunity for emergency management personnel to demonstrate their preparedness and degree of competence, starting with strategic planning, even days before the super storm made landfall.
Preparing for an Emergency Management Career in West Virginia
Many first responders volunteer their time for training and also earn emergency management certification in West Virginia from non-profit organizations and private companies. Government agencies also welcome any extra help they can get, and have programs such as citizen police academies and volunteer fire departments to help channel the good intentions and civic responsibility of West Virginians.
People interested in going further in the field can earn a degree in emergency management in West Virginia or online. Degrees in emergency management aren’t necessarily your only option for jobs in emergency response and planning in West Virginia. Other options include fields like:
- Public Administration
- Information Technology (IT)
- Computer Science, Networking, and Wireless Communication
- Criminal Justice – Terrorism, Mediation, and Peace
- Leadership and Executive Management
- Human Services
- Law Enforcement
Emergency Management Strategy
Hurricane Sandy, like many storms, offered one advantage despite its high level of destruction, and that was predictability. Using national weather forecasts obtained by satellites and airplane reconnaissance flights, emergency management officials began preparing for Hurricane Sandy days in advance, stationing snow removal and power crews strategically throughout the state and keeping medical and law enforcement agencies on alert. In fact in the case of Hurricane Sandy, the governor declared a state of emergency while people in the following West Virginia emergency management careers were already working overtime or on standby- before the hurricane even came ashore:
- Local, state, and federal law enforcement
- Emergency medical technicians
- Reconnaissance pilots
- Weather analysts
- Logistics coordinators
- Supply management
- Electronic, network, and IT experts
- Flood analysts and surveyors
Those with emergency management jobs in West Virginia may have to put in long hours of overtime, but when the disaster has passed and lives have been saved one seldom experiences a greater feeling of satisfaction.