What is an Emergency Management Director?

Emergency management directors are official delegates who lead and supervise all disaster-related response and recovery activities for the government, organization or community. They may be employed by a public safety agency, a multinational corporation or a non-profit community organization.

Common Duties

Emergency management directors will oversee all disaster-related mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery operations. They assist and direct employees in the execution of critical tasks and programs. They review the completed work of volunteers and employees as well as provide technical and informational assistance to citizens. Emergency management directors will liaison will city, county, state and federal government agencies and local and regional community organizations. They may direct the enhancement and maintenance of operations centers that support local emergency operations and regional program coordination.

Emergency management directors direct and approve incident action plans for specific disaster responses and large special events in the community. They support disaster-related training courses and disaster exercises for community responders. Emergency management directors are responsible for the design, coordination, finalization, publishing and distribution of direct preparedness, emergency and response plans. They review and approve mutual aid, collaborating partnership and region multi-agency agreements.

Required Knowledge and Abilities

Emergency management directors must have management-level knowledge of media, public affairs and government cooperation standards. They must understand and implement the most effective communication vehicles. Emergency management directors should have the proven abilities to work under deadlines, manage crisis communications, categorize risk data and determine potential consequences. They must have the abilities to decide the right time, place and sequence of operations within specific frameworks.

Emergency management directors should know how to manage and direct groups of paid, public and volunteer workers to provide counseling and mediation. Employers will expect them to utilize a variety of data and information from project budgets, audit reports, time cards, meeting minutes, news releases, statistical reports, performance diagrams and government directives. They must be able to state ordinances, federal regulations, comprehend emergency response plans, hazardous material guidelines, software operating manuals and internal accounting methods.

Minimum Employment Qualifications

Most employers will require emergency management directors to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in public administration and emergency management. Alternatively, it could be a closely related field like law enforcement, criminal justice and business administration. Emergency management directors must have at least five years of emergency operations, disaster planning and supervisory experience. The exact combination of education, training and experience will be established by the government official like a city commissioner or county administrator.

Emergency management directors must have demonstrated experience reading, analyzing and interpreting complex documents. They must be able to physically stand or sit for extended periods of time at a keyboard or workstation. Certain tasks or emergencies will require outdoor activities with exposure to inclement weather and disagreeable environmental factors. Employers will want job candidates who have experience working in the field for extended periods of time in temporary offices and stations.

Related Resource: What is a Fish and Game Warden?

Anyone interested in an emergency management career should visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) career website. All of these jobs will require either a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree from an accredited university.