An Overview of Emergency and Disaster Management Jobs

international emergency management team listening to presentation

Emergency and disaster management jobs are crucial to prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters and emergency situations. There are many jobs in this field, and each one plays a different role in mitigating the effects of hazardous situations. This article will provide an overview of emergency and disaster management jobs and organizations. 

What Is Emergency and Disaster Management?

Emergency management refers to coordinating and managing resources and responsibilities related to mitigating emergencies through preparation, response, and recovery. Emergencies include medical situations, natural hazards, or human-made disasters, among others. 

The field of emergency and disaster management is large and layered, with some organizations operating at the local, national, or global levels. 

A different set of skills and labor is required for each emergency management process. For example, the person coordinating the natural disaster response will be different from the person responding. In this scenario, the first person may be an emergency manager, while the latter may be an emergency responder. 

What Do Disaster and Emergency Managers Do?

As previously mentioned, an emergency manager’s responsibility is to develop and implement emergency response procedures. Other duties may include:

  • Coordinating operations between agencies.
  • Creating a training program.
  • Conducting training exercises.
  • Facilitating communications.
  • Assisting with public relations.

To become an emergency manager or occupy a similar position, getting a degree in emergency management, public safety, or another similar subject is often required. Nevertheless, other jobs in this industry may require a different career path or degree program.

Organizations Involved in Emergency and Disaster Management

tech team working on computers

Government agencies, non-profits, companies in the private sector, and volunteer organizations are involved in emergency and disaster management. Depending on the organization, some operate locally, nationally, globally, or at all three levels. Here are some organizations to check out: 

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 

FEMA supports citizens and personnel across the nation in emergency planning, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation. The agency assists before, during, and after natural disasters and hazardous events. It has over 20,000 employees nationwide at the regional, state, and national levels. 

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)

UNDRR brings governments, partners, and communities together to reduce disaster risk and losses and to ensure a safer, sustainable future at an international level. It has job openings worldwide. 

United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) 

The UNDAC supports the United Nations and governments worldwide in responding to sudden disasters and emergencies. 

United States Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security deals with human-made disasters like cyber security attacks, terrorism, border security, and nuclear threats within the United States. It works to protect against these events and responds in an occurrence.

National Emergency Management Association (NEMA)

NEMA works with central and local governments, communities, and businesses to ensure effective and integrated emergency responses and recoveries.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that helps vulnerable people worldwide to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters, armed conflicts, and life-threatening health conditions. 

All Hands Volunteers 

This nonprofit organization helps with response and recovery in communities affected by natural disasters. In addition, they work on rebuilding infrastructure and preparing for future events. 

Jobs and Careers in Emergency Management 

emergency services employees

Emergency and disaster management workers are constantly in demand as help is needed all the time- before, during, and after catastrophes. Here are some critical positions in this industry:

  • Emergency Management Director/Specialist - Coordinate emergency response programs and relief efforts for natural, wartime, and technological disasters. 
  • Emergency Services Manager - Understand potential threats in a community, develop plans for emergencies, and coordinate with law enforcement, medical personnel, government officials, and social workers. 
  • Emergency service jobs - There are various public health and safety departments, and each has multiple positions. 
    • Fire departments - firefighter, driver engineer, fire chief
    • Law enforcement - police officer, police chief, detective, investigator
    • Emergency medical services - paramedics, emergency doctors, rescue squad, medical technician
    • Other healthcare professions - nurses, doctors, social workers, therapists, etc. 
  • Environmental Manager - ensure companies comply with environmental standards and objectives while identifying and alleviating environmental issues. 
  • Disaster Recovery Manager - help businesses rebuild after disasters and cope with disaster effects, train companies in disaster preparedness, and create business continuity plans.
  • Disaster Volunteer - assist with recovery after natural disasters. Find out how to become a disaster volunteer here

Wrapping Up

The emergency and disaster management field is indispensable and extensive. Plenty of jobs are available at the local, national, and international levels, requiring different areas of expertise. If working in emergency and disaster management is something that interests you, start by checking out the jobs and organizations listed above.