The recent outbreak of coronavirus has shed light on the specialism of emergency management. Despite being vital to society, emergency management isn’t typically a major mainstream focus. Until it’s needed, that is.
Businesses and large organizations play a critical role in maintaining public order, so it’s important that they are ready to respond to potential emergencies. If retail companies can’t stock the bare essentials, for example, it can lead to rioting, looting and food shortages.
As people become more aware of the need for contingency plans, businesses are placing more emphasis on their emergency management. For today’s students and existing professionals, this opens up a whole new world of career possibilities.
What Is Emergency Management?
Emergency management refers to the organization of resources for dealing with critical situations. By enhancing the framework for dealing with major hazards, emergency management professionals protect vulnerable groups within society and society itself. The types of emergencies businesses, public organizations and countries need to be prepared for are varied and include:
- Environmental disasters, such as flooding and bushfires
- Man-made threats, such as terrorist attacks and riots
- Biological threats, such as pandemics and endemics
- Financial disasters, such as recessions and depressions
Given the varied nature of potential hazards, effective emergency management requires input from a wide range of resources. While businesses are tasked with creating their own emergency preparedness strategies, many corporations work closely with government bodies to deliver successful emergency management.
Although many businesses play an important humanitarian role in times in times of crisis, there is, of course, a corporate agenda at play. When potential hazards pose a threat to trading or spending, companies want to ensure they can weather the storm and maintain their profits.
Being unprepared puts companies at risk of reduced sales, a dwindling customer base and bankruptcy. Due to this, businesses have a major financial incentive to prioritize emergency management.
Working in Emergency Management
Emergency management is such a varied area that there are a wide range of career opportunities within the sector. The need for professionals with a diverse range of skills can be seen in the four stages of emergency management:
The ultimate aim of emergency management professionals is to minimize the harmful effects of disasters and hazards. To achieve this, the sector calls on the expertise of a range of professionals, such as:
- Data analysts
- Communications experts
- Security specialists
- Medical professionals
While being an Emergency Response Manager is a defined role within the sector, there are millions of people around the world contributing to the industry. From government workers and employees of private firms to non-profit staff and volunteers; working within the emergency preparedness sector is much more common than you might think.
Building a Career in Emergency Management
As the need for first-class emergency management has become more widespread, an increasing number of people are choosing to focus their careers on this area. Indeed, there are now bespoke courses and degree programs aimed at developing the next generation of emergency response specialists.
However, a career in emergency preparedness isn’t only open to graduates who have completed this type of degree. In fact, there are many routes into the industry. Perhaps one of the most successful ways to enter to the sector is following a career in policing.
As police forces around the world are inextricably involved in every aspect of emergency management, moving into the sector is a natural progression for many serving officers and civilian support staff. Click here to learn more about how police forces have evolved throughout history and what role they’ve played in emergency management and national security.
On a day-to-day basis, police officers deal with a range of emergencies and crises. For catastrophic events, such as building collapses, to logistical issues, such as failing traffic infrastructure; police officers are ultimately responsible to maintaining public order and safety.
People working with the emergency services gain experience at all levels when it comes to effective emergency management. New police officers typically work in the field; implementing emergency preparedness strategies in towns, cities and villages, while more experienced officers operate at management level to create these strategies and manage resources.
Is the Corporate World Prepared?
The current spread of coronavirus may have taken the public by surprise but those within the emergency management industry have been preparing for this type of threat for many years. As such, big businesses and governments are already working together to facilitate an appropriate response. This cross-organizational response is indicative of the strategies needed to managed crises. As Dr. Eric Whitaker maintains:
‘Emergency preparedness is a team sport’
To date, most developed countries have been able to contain or mitigate potential threats before they become too widespread. The alarming rate at which the biological threat of coronavirus is spreading means that the emergency management cycles of response and recovery will be more visible.
For most corporations, coronavirus is a timely reminder of just how important emergency preparedness is. Due to this, it’s likely that firms will recruit increasing numbers of emergency management specialists in both the short and long-term. For police officers who want to explore alternative career routes, the need for experienced responders will present an attractive opportunity.
Moving forward, businesses are likely to use emergency management specialists to carry out a number of tasks, including:
- Risk analysis of potential threats
- Building an inter-organization team
- Creating contingency plans for different types of emergencies
- Training staff and employees
- Simulating emergency situations and assessing the response
Although companies will want to protect their investments and financial performance, more visible emergency preparedness measures will also play a role in reassuring the public that they are safe. This means that non-profit organizations, private firms and government departments are likely to engage in more publicized emergency preparedness activities. As a result, the emergency management sector is likely to grow considerably as companies, governments and countries seek to implement effective crisis management schemes for every eventuality that they could face.