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What is an Emergency Manager ?



Emergency Managers are expert planners, tasked with handling emergency and disasters—before they occur, during their occurrence, and after they subside. They are often employed by government agencies, (federal, state and local), as well as hospitals, law enforcement and fire departments, city government, universities, large corporations, and community relief organizations.


While there is no one specific way someone can become an a professional emergency manager, generally speaking, the professional certified emergency manager candidate will need the following:


  • At least 7-10 years experience in an emergency management / leadership position;

  • A BA/BS degree in emergency management, homeland security or other related topic;

  • A Master’s degree is often preferred;

  • Completion of FEMA classes, generally including FEMA PDS, IS-100, 230, 300, 400, 700 & 800


The International Association of Emergency Management (IAEM), also requires the following documentation to become a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM):


  • Three letters of recommendation, including one from your supervisor / employer

  • Six documented contributions to emergency management, including items such as:

    • Correspondence with legislature in regard to EM

    • Speeches in regard to EM

    • Trained staff / personnel on an EM related topic

    • Published articles in peer reviewed professional journals

    • Three years of documented participation in a professional organization

    • An essay regarding an emergency management topic

    • etc.


The Emergency Managers manage resources before, during, and after a major emergency or disaster. Take inventory of personnel and material resources to include the private-sector sources that would be available in an emergency. Identify resource deficiencies and working with appropriate officials on measures to resolve them. Develop and carry out public awareness and education programs. Coordinate the planning process and working cooperatively with organizations and government agencies. Identify and analyze the potential impacts of hazards that threaten the jurisdiction. Conduct threat/hazard and risk assessments. Coordinate a review of all local emergency and disaster-related authorities and recommending amendments, when necessary. Conduct activities related to the key components of emergency management: Mitigation, Preparedness, Response & Recovery.


The Emergency Manager will also coordinate with all partners to ensure they:


Are aware of potential threats to the community, including establishing a system to alert officials and the public in an emergency or disaster. Participate in mitigation and prevention activities. Plan for emergencies and disasters using an all-hazards approach, including establishing and maintaining networks of expert advisors and damage assessors for all hazards. Operate effectively in emergency situations. Conduct effective recovery operations after a disaster. Are advised and informed about emergency management activities.

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