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An Emergency Management Coordinator and Their Responsibilities

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The Emergency Management field is a rather unique and at times a very stressful field. An Emergency Management Coordinator may have many different roles within the emergency service community. An Emergency Management Coordinator has to create plans such as mitigation, and how to prepare the community for a potential catastrophe. Successful emergency management requires specialized skills. EMCs help communities by assessing potential hazards and training emergency response teams, they also work together with government entities that deal with cleanup efforts and medical aid after a natural disaster, hazardous accident or terrorist attack has occurred. As society has become more integrated, those skills include coordinating an increasingly complex array of organizations, resources and personnel. Add to this the high expectations that citizens tend to place on emergency mangers, and the challenge can seem very overwhelming.

Now that we have a basic understanding of who and what an Emergency Management Coordinator is I want to take a look at the realities of their duties in the face of disaster/emergency situations. Whether they may be faced with hurricanes, earthquakes or bomb threats, emergency management coordinators (EMCs) must assess the situation quickly, brainstorm possible solutions and delegate duties accordingly. Some of the major duties for EMCs include supervising search and rescue, obtaining food and shelter for survivors and organizing other relief efforts. And depending on your geographical location this job can mean different things in relation to the amount and severity of such threats.

An EMC is not off the clock when things are calm and there is no emergency situation to tend to. The laundry list of duties and responsibilities that an EMC much take on is quite extensive and includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Supervises, coordinates, and maintains the daily operations of the local Emergency Management Agency (EMA).
  • Maintains the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in a continuous state of readiness.
  • Maintains coordination with local and state governmental departments and agencies, utilities and industry during any type of emergency.
  • Prepares and revises the county Emergency Operations Plan (EOP).
  • Assists local government departments/agencies in the preparation of the departments SOPs in support of the EOP.
  • Reviews and makes recommendations to businesses, industry, hospital, and nursing homes on the preparation of their emergency plans to ensure they are workable within the framework of the local and state plans.
  • Develops and coordinates mutual aid agreements with other agencies and adjacent counties.
  • Prepares and manages the local EMA budget.
  • Prepares the required budget and staffing patterns paperwork for GEMA, which qualifies the local EMA for GEMA and FEMA funds.
  • Organizes and coordinates local training for public safety and volunteer first responders.
  • Supervises and monitors the actions of the Volunteer Search and Recovery Squad.
  • Prepares scenarios and procedures and coordinates training for local government officials, industry, utilities, and volunteers in conjunction with the exercising of emergency plans.
  • Ensures the EOC is staffed with knowledgeable qualified personnel and makes training and exercises available to these personnel. Through newspaper articles, radio programs, television, speaking engagements, and seminars, makes the public aware of the emergency plans and procedures that are in place and the public’s part in making these plans and procedures work.
  • Working with the Red Cross and DFACS, ensures that adequate facilities are available to shelter citizens should the need arise.
  • Coordinates with the school system officials for the development of tornado warnings and school shelter plans.
  • On a 24 hour basis, responds to hazardous material incidents, bomb threats, severe weather alerts, and other natural or man-made emergencies.
  • Manages the daily operations of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and answers citizen inquiries concerning hazardous materials.
  • Responds to water and land search and recovery efforts utilizing the EMA Volunteer Search and Recovery Squad.
  • Interprets and applies all federal and state directives that apply to emergency management and departments supporting EMA.
  • Answers inquiries from citizens concerning emergency plans and procedures.
  • Ensures that all special needs citizens, registered with the Department of Health, are evacuated if the need arises. Also coordinates the transportation needs of the nursing homes.
  • Utilizing computer models and various weather service products, stays abreast of current weather conditions and advises city/county administrators and/or department heads of any action that may be needed.

The amount of responsibility that and EMC has is pretty substantial, and it is because of them that when disaster strikes we have the ability to get the help and services that re needed to start the processing of cleaning up and rebuilding. Because of the importance of this position I believe that the individual tasked with having to develop emergency plans has to be one of focus and drive with the best interest of the community at heart. But other than having a focus and drive there are other qualities that make for a really good EMC. “One of the most essential qualities an emergency manager must have is professionalism. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) training, professionalism is imperative because emergency managers must work with a wide variety of people to coordinate, organize and get things done in a crisis situation. They must treat other people fairly and kindly, and find the balance between cordiality and a sense of urgency. Emergency managers must also be able to have empathy but follow the rules and federal guidelines regarding emergency assistance” (FEMA).

Another important quality is to have great communication and organizational skills. “Being a great listener is also important so that they may quickly understand all the facts pertaining to an emergency situation, and be able to efficiently communicate and delegate tasks to subordinates and community leaders. This may also entail using a wide variety of communication mediums appropriately and effectively. These types of leaders must perform well in high-stress situations, and remain calm at all times. This is not an ideal position for someone who loses his temper quickly. Along with the essential professional and personal qualities, the emergency manager must understand and be proficient at the actual management activities. For example, he must plan and coordinate the emergency procedures with local contacts, such as the police and fire department. He must also know the process of contacting state or national officials for more help if necessary. Other types of emergency management activities include working with weather bureaus, transportation authorities and criminal law agencies,” (EHow).

The way an EMC responds to a disaster is highly dependent upon the source of the disaster and the level of damage it has caused. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods or hurricanes, demand actions and solutions vastly different from those caused by warfare. Spills of toxic or hazardous materials or nuclear power plant malfunctions require different approaches to minimize negative effects. No one disaster will be entirely the same as another, so the response may not be able to be handled them same way.

The key concept of an EMC is PPRR which stands for:

Prevention/Mitigation- Assessing and reducing disaster risks. Activities include researching natural and ‘man-made’ disasters, constructing physical mitigation works (such as levees and firebreaks), establishing warning systems, land use planning (e.g. stopping people from building on floodplains) and building codes (e.g. mandating fire-proof building materials). Preparedness- Preparing the emergency services and the community ready for disasters. Activities include preparing emergency plans, training first responders, educating the community on how to prepare and what to do in a disaster. Response- Actually responding to a disaster and ensuring that the emergency services have the right resources (equipment and people) to do their job. Emergency management professionals aren’t usually in charge of responding to a disaster, but act as an executive officer, providing expert advice to someone with the decision making authority Recovery- Getting a community that has been impacted by a disaster ‘back on its feet’. Activities include, collecting and distributing donations and goods, distributing government relief payments, assisting with reconstruction tasks and much more.

There is no single model for emergency management, either in organization or in size. Nationwide, there is great variety. For example, emergency management may function as a separate organization. In an ideal situation, the emergency manager answers directly to the jurisdiction’s chief executive, giving the executive direct access to unfiltered information from the emergency manager. In many communities emergency management is a function within the fire/rescue, public safety, or law enforcement department. Often it is part of a volunteer department. Staff size may run the gamut from a single part-time or shared position, to a full-time employee, to a full-time director with a large staff, each with assigned areas of responsibility. In any community — no matter what the size — people look to emergency management for certain things. For example, they expect:

  • A safe and resilient community. In most jurisdictions this entails communitywide preparedness; up-to-date emergency plans, and a training and exercise program to support those plans; and strategies for preventing, protecting against, and mitigating the effects of disasters.
  • Effective response and recovery when incidents do occur.
  • Information about the risks the population faces and the actions they should take.
  • Ethical conduct (FEMA).

“Because the emergency manager takes on a higher profile during emergencies, a common perception is that all emergency management responsibilities are related to responding to emergencies. In reality, emergency management is not just about the core functions involved in response. It includes a broad array of program functions, and much of the work is of a nonemergency nature. Core functions are those that are critical to a successful emergency response” (FEMA). Emergency managers are responsible for the following core functions:

  • Direction, control, and coordination
  • Communications
  • Warning
  • External affairs/Emergency public information
  • Population protection
  • Mass care, emergency assistance, housing, and human services
  • Public health and medical services
  • Logistics management and resource support

“In addition to the emergency core functions, the emergency manager directs the day-to-day emergency management program that enables the jurisdiction to build and sustain needed capabilities and maintain a state of preparedness. Examples of nonemergency program activities include”:

  • Ongoing monitoring of threat/hazard information.
  • Developing and updating plans.
  • Recruiting and training staff.
  • Planning and coordinating exercises.
  • Budgeting, accounting, and grant writing.
  • Building relationships across the community.
  • Educating the public.
  • Organizing for hazard mitigation.
  • Soliciting public input on recovery planning.
  • Documenting, reporting, and managing information. (FEMA)

As you can see the amount of responsibility that an EMC takes on is great, the reality is that no matter what is going on from one day to the next the job of an EMC doesn’t just revolve around the time of a disaster taking place. Each and every day there is a job to be done and people to keep in the loop and make sure that everyone is doing their job so that when disaster does strike everyone can be ready.

The Emergency Management field is a rather unique and at times a very stressful field. An Emergency Management Coordinator may have many different roles within the emergency service community. An Emergency Management Coordinator has to create plans such as mitigation, and how to prepare the community for a potential catastrophe. Successful emergency management requires specialized skills. EMCs help communities by assessing potential hazards and training emergency response teams, they also work together with government entities that deal with cleanup efforts and medical aid after a natural disaster, hazardous accident or terrorist attack has occurred. As society has become more integrated, those skills include coordinating an increasingly complex array of organizations, resources and personnel. Add to this the high expectations that citizens tend to place on emergency mangers, and the challenge can seem very overwhelming.

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An Emergency Management Coordinator and Their Responsibilities. (2019, April 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/an-emergency-management-coordinator-and-their-responsibilities/
“An Emergency Management Coordinator and Their Responsibilities.” GradesFixer, 10 Apr. 2019, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/an-emergency-management-coordinator-and-their-responsibilities/
An Emergency Management Coordinator and Their Responsibilities. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/an-emergency-management-coordinator-and-their-responsibilities/> [Accessed 25 Jun. 2022].
An Emergency Management Coordinator and Their Responsibilities [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Apr 10 [cited 2022 Jun 25]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/an-emergency-management-coordinator-and-their-responsibilities/
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