Emergency management and homeland security are ever-expanding fields crossing multiple professional disciplines and policy domains. They provide challenging career opportunities for those passionate about emergency services assistance, public security and public safety, humanitarian aid for crises and disasters, hazards risk reduction and community resilience promotion. This career profile series will explore some job opportunities available to those looking to help make an impact through public service.
In today’s world, companies must know how to react in the event of an unexpected threat - from running annual fire drills to conducting complex seminars about natural disasters and other large-scale crises for their employees. Hospitals, banks, corporate offices, schools - most every type of professional organization can benefit from this training and it’s the role of an emergency response training coordinator to help educate them on different strategies that apply to their specific workplace.
Developing a Strategy
Crisis situations can arise at any place of business and many companies are choosing to be proactive by hiring emergency response training coordinators to help prepare them for any potential impact to employee safety. Emergency response training coordinators are able to develop custom educational programs to teach employees and decision makers how to act quickly and effectively in a variety of scenarios using everything from live drills to interactive classes and virtual reality.
As students in the ASU Online Emergency Management & Homeland Security program are learning, every space has its own potential risks based on company type, as well the area it’s located in. For example, recent events have caused colleges and other large institutions to reconsider their emergency response plans and they look to emergency response training coordinators to help revise those plans. Some organizations are also more likely to be impacted by region-specific natural disasters such as hurricanes or blizzards that can pose a number of challenges related to power-outages and property damage.
Each type of threat presents its own unique challenges and the first thing an emergency response training coordinator must help an organization do is identify major risks and create plans that can best ensure the safety of its workers and the workplace. Just a few of the possible contingencies that may need to be accounted for include:
Natural disasters can come in a variety of forms and emergency response training coordinators must be familiar with their threats, their potential aftermath and the best practices for responding to them. The types of disasters they will have to prepare for will be different depending upon the geographic area their clients are in.
These occurrences can include:
- Heavy Snowfall
- Wind and Thunderstorms
- Volcanic Eruptions
For each disaster, the training specialist should educate company staff in proper pre-planning strategies. This can help reduce potential human safety concerns as well as prevent any equipment damage and safeguard sensitive information such as employee records and client data. The development of evacuation and safety procedures in the event of sudden weather events like tornadoes is also crucial, as are extensive recovery plans to ensure that the workplace can be made safe for its employees following an event.
Whether as a result of natural causes, human error or arson, fire offers its own unique challenges to emergency response training coordinators. Implementing efficient fire drills is an important first step in preparing staff within an industry, and such exercises can be practiced multiple times throughout the year.
In addition to evacuating personnel, emergency response training coordinators can also develop plans to protect them from harm in the days following a fire. This includes identifying and mitigating potentially unseen hazards resulting from structural damage.
Unfortunately, some threats to human life are manmade and the increased instances of these events make an emergency response specialist’s training crucial to the modern workplace. To serve this need, a specialist must prepare for the ways in which malicious acts may be committed against the organization they work for. These can include:
- Bomb Threats
- Biological Attacks
- Workplace Shootings
- Other Acts of Terrorism
The emergency response training coordinator must prepare as well as they can for these types of scenarios with evacuation plans, determining who should respond and educating employees on the proper action to take in the moment if this kind of disaster strikes. Specialists may also suggest counseling for those affected by trauma in the workplace.
Although virtual, cyberattacks have the potential to manifest real world harm for a business and its employees. There is an increasing trend toward weaponizing the internet and awareness of such events is becoming another essential function for emergency response training coordinators. Preparation begins by working closely with a company’s information technology or cybersecurity teams to train workers and decision makers about best practices for dealing with current and future threats.
New vulnerabilities will always arise. Therefore, safeguarding a company involves strategy and foresight. This is done through perpetual awareness of the latest viruses being circulated, constant updating of network security, educating all members of a staff on how to identify threats and reporting each attack to help further educate those whose job it is to ensure cyber security.
For each type of disaster listed above, emergency response training coordinators can develop a variety of supporting materials to better help their clients prepare and react. This can include video training, which can showcase a range of real-world scenarios for those who learn better by seeing something demonstrated than by reading documents.
Interactive classes are also popular and provide instruction that can often be aided in-person or remotely. These courses offer a chance for employees to interface with experts, ask questions, see demonstrations and act out scenarios as well as the proper response to them.
A relatively new form of emergency training, virtual reality uses immersive video and interactive simulations that enable a specialist to train employees, study their responses in simulated scenarios and adjust training programs accordingly.
Finally, real world drills allow participants to utilize many of the skills they have practiced across all of their training materials and apply them in the real world. These are essential for helping solidify emergency response education for the members of an organization. Furthermore, they reveal potential faults in a plan so they can be revised if necessary.
Choosing a Career Field
The emergency response training coordinator must deal with many complex issues and while some of them are dependent on geographic area, they also depend upon the career area they have chosen. Looking at the education provided through the Emergency Management and Homeland Security master’s program at Arizona State University, there are several possible career paths a graduate can pursue.
Demand for these services is growing because investing in properly-trained staff is much more cost efficient than trying to react to an emergency as it escalates in real time. There are many types of companies in private industries that employ emergency response training coordinators, including:
- Stadiums and Event Centers
- Shopping Malls
- Companies with a Large Number of Employees
Emergency response training coordinators can also provide consulting services to small agencies to fit their budgets and safety planning needs.
Because of the critical services provided by public utilities and government offices, these organizations have a great need for emergency response training coordinators. While serving these sectors, training specialists can work in a number of different environments:
- Power Plants
- Jails and Prisons
- Museums and Libraries
- Other Public Buildings
Depending upon level of education and the experience they have with strategic planning, emergency response training coordinators can make anywhere from just under $35,000 a year to around $97,000 a year. Nationally, the average salary for this position is just over $53,000 annually, according to Payscale.
Working as an emergency response training coordinator can be both rewarding and challenging, with these professionals helping make a real difference across a number of organizations and communities.
You can learn more about developing your qualifications by exploring ASU’s online Emergency Management & Homeland Security master’s program - an advanced degree focused on specialized skills for impacting the future of public safety.