Emergency Management Careers in Dane County, Wisconsin

Dane County is both heavily populated and prone to a number of severe weather events that lead to injuries and death, along with high levels of property loss.  From 1950 to 2010, over 14,000 extreme weather events were recorded within 50 miles of Dane County.  Sixteen federal disaster declarations have been made in the county between 1971 and 2009.

Emergency management specialists in Dane County are actively planning mitigation efforts for the natural disasters that undoubtedly will occur.  Approximately 60 emergency management specialists have jobs in the South Central Workforce Development Area, which includes Dane County.  Their ranks are expected to increase by 17% within the next few years.

Emergency management jobs in Dane County range from those with Dane County Emergency Management to those with academic institutions, hospitals, and private employers in the area.

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Requirements for an Emergency Management Career in Dane County

Bachelor’s degrees in emergency management are generally required to obtain jobs in this field.  Residents of the state of Wisconsin can obtain emergency management bachelor’s degrees in two state schools or through the online universities that offer degrees in this field.  Students can obtain the following degrees from the state schools:

  • Bachelor’s of Applied Science Fire and Emergency Response Management
  • Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies with an Emphasis in Emergency Management

Some of the courses offered include the following:

  • Strategic Emergency Preparedness, Planning, and Implementation
  • Principles and Practices of Emergency Management
  • Disaster Response Operations and Management
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Political and Policy Dimensions of Emergency Management

Emergency management training is being stressed in the county, so that specialists are equipped reduce the damage caused by natural disasters and to deal with the aftermath of these events.

Emergencies Declared in Dane County

Residents of Dane County are faced with a variety of dangerous weather events, ranging from frequent flooding, severe winter storms, and tornados to less common disasters such as landslides and dams failing.  The county had 552 severe weather events between 1982 and 2008 and has a high rate of injuries from natural disasters.  No other county in the state has had such a high number of severe weather events.

Tornados – Wisconsin is more prone to be hit with tornados than the rest of the country, and the tornado index that indicates the frequency of these events is nearly 60% greater for Dane County than the rest of the state.  The county’s location in the southern part of the state makes it more vulnerable to storm tracks that pull moist and warm air from the Gulf of Mexico.

Overall, tornados are the mostly costly type of natural disaster to impact Dane County.  Over the period from 1982 through 2009, 33 tornados touched down in the county, causing two fatalities and 61 injuries.  One of the worst of these was the 2005 tornado that primarily affected Stoughton.  The area received a disaster declaration from the state and received $35 million on public assistance.

Flooding – Another highly costly type of natural disaster in Dane County is the flooding that frequently occurs throughout the county.  It can come from a variety of sources, ranging from overflowing rivers, flash floods, fluctuating lake levels, and high groundwater levels.  Of all the counties in the state, Dane County is tied for the fifth most total numbers of floods.

Historically, there are yearly floods in Dane County with flooding that is severe enough to result in a federal disaster declaration averaging every five years.  The communities with the highest concentrations of property in areas predicted to flood include Black Earth, Cottage Grove, Cross Plains, Deforest, and Verona.  2013 is proving no exception to the trend of flooding with the year being the wettest ever.  As of late June, Madison had received over 30” of rain, surpassing previous records.

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