Emergency Management Careers in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

Milwaukee County is prone to various types of natural disasters, which means emergency management specialists are highly active in this county planning to mitigate the effects of potential disasters.

Approximately ninety such specialists are employed in Milwaukee and the greater Workforce Development area.  The need for emergency management specialists is expected to grow by 22% in this area.

In Wisconsin, the average mean salary of emergency specialists is $55,930, while those who are experienced earn a high average of $81,340.  Emergency management jobs are found with the county agency known as the Milwaukee County Emergency Management Department, as well as with private employers that need to have contingencies in place to keep their businesses running.

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Requirements for an Emergency Management Career in Milwaukee County

The requirements to be hired as an emergency management specialist in Milwaukee County typically involve having a bachelor’s degree and a Wisconsin driver’s license.

Having a high degree of training in this field is being stressed at the national level, and Wisconsin offers a voluntary certification program to help offer this training.  Requirements to achieve this certification include both online and classroom coursework.

Wisconsin residents who seek to obtain a bachelor’s degree in emergency management have their choice of two schools that are located in the state, as well as a wealth of opportunities offered through online universities.  Degrees available in the state include:

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

Potential courses include:

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

Emergencies That Threaten Milwaukee County

Emergency management specialists in Milwaukee County face a myriad of potential disasters, both natural and from human events.  Over a fifteen-year period, there have been fifteen events in the county that were designated as federal and/or state disasters.

Flooding – Milwaukee County has a history of severe flooding and had ten floods that occurred within a fifteen year period. The Milwaukee River is responsible for most of the flooding in Milwaukee County.  In particular, Bayside, Brown Deer, Fox Point, Glendale, and Oak Creek are the municipalities most prone to flooding from the river, while Franklin is especially susceptible to flash flooding.

The flood that caused the most damage was one in 1997 that cased $78 million in damage to public property in dollars not adjusted for inflation.  In July 2010, up to 7.5” of rain fell within two hours, unleashing torrents of water in many areas of the county that were already saturated from a storm a few days before. Wisconsin’s Governor declared a state of emergency for this flood that caused about $37 million in damage.

Water reached five feet in some areas, and a sinkhole opened up at an intersection on Milwaukee’s East Side and swallowed an SUV. Even a month after the storm, hundreds of houses still required assistance.

Tornados – Milwaukee County has been struck by 19 tornadoes over a 45-year period.  South Milwaukee and St. Francis are especially susceptible to such incidents.  Tornado activity in July 2000 alone caused $9 million worth of damages in Franklin and Oak Creek, resulting in a declaration of being a federal disaster area.

There are 48 outdoor warning sirens throughout the county to warn the residents about incipient tornado activity.  They are tested daily electronically to ensure that they are functional, and full sound tests are performed monthly.

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