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Working As an Emergency Services Program Coordinator

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • $52,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Emergency Services Program Coordinator Do

Emergency management directors prepare plans and procedures for responding to natural disasters and other emergencies. They also help lead the response during and after emergencies, often in coordination with public safety officials, elected officials, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.

Duties

Emergency management directors typically do the following:

  • Assess hazards and prepare plans to respond to emergencies and disasters in order to minimize risk to people and property
  • Meet with public safety officials, private companies, and the general public to get recommendations regarding emergency response plans
  • Organize emergency response training programs and exercises for staff, volunteers, and other responders
  • Coordinate the sharing of resources and equipment within the community and across communities to assist in responding to an emergency
  • Prepare and analyze damage assessments following disasters or emergencies
  • Review emergency plans of individual organizations, such as medical facilities, to ensure their adequacy
  • Apply for federal funding for emergency management planning, responses and recovery and report on the use of funds allocated
  • Review local emergency operations plans and revise them if necessary
  • Maintain facilities used during emergency operations

Emergency management directors are responsible for planning and leading the responses to natural disasters and other emergencies. Directors work with government agencies, nonprofits, private companies, and the general public to develop effective plans that minimize damage and disruptions during an emergency.

To develop emergency response plans, directors typically research “best practices” from around the country and from other emergency management agencies. Directors also must prepare plans and procedures that meet local, state, and federal regulations.

Directors must analyze the resources, equipment, and staff available to respond to emergencies. If resources or equipment are lacking, directors must either revise their plans or obtain the needed resources from another community or state. Many directors coordinate with fire, emergency medical service, police departments, and public works agencies in other communities to locate and share equipment during an emergency. Directors must be in contact with other agencies to collect and share information regarding the scope of the emergency, the potential costs, and the resources or staff needed.

After plans are developed, emergency management directors typically ensure that individuals and groups become familiar with the emergency procedures. Directors often use social media to disseminate plans and warnings to the general public.

Emergency management directors run training courses and disaster exercises for staff, volunteers, and local agencies to ensure an effective and coordinated response to an emergency. Directors also may visit schools, hospitals, or other community groups to update everyone on the emergency plans.

During an emergency, directors typically maintain a command center at which personnel monitor and manage the emergency operations. Directors help lead the response, making adjustments to or prioritizing certain actions if necessary. These actions may include ordering evacuations, conducting rescue missions, or opening up public shelters for those displaced by the disaster. Emergency management directors also may need to conduct press conferences or other outreach activities to keep the public informed about the emergency.

Following an emergency, directors must assess the damage to their community and must coordinate getting assistance and supplies into the community if necessary. Directors may need to request state or federal assistance to help execute their emergency response plan and provide support to effected citizens, organizations, and communities. Directors may also revise their plans and procedures to prepare for future emergencies or disasters.

Emergency management directors working for hospitals, universities, or private companies may be called business continuity managers. Similar to their counterparts in local and state government, business continuity managers prepare plans and procedures to help businesses maintain operations and minimize losses during and after an emergency.

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How To Become An Emergency Services Program Coordinator

Emergency management directors typically need a bachelor’s degree, as well as multiple years of work experience in emergency response, disaster planning, or public administration.

Education

Emergency management directors typically need a bachelor’s degree in business or public administration, accounting, finance, emergency management, or public health. Some directors working in the private sector in the area of business continuity management may need to have a degree in computer science, information systems administration, or another information technology (IT) field.

Some smaller municipalities or local governments may hire applicants who have just a high school diploma. However, these applicants usually need extensive work experience in emergency management if they are to be hired.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Applicants typically need multiple years of work experience, often with the military, law enforcement, fire safety, or in another emergency management field, before they can be hired as an emergency management director. Previous work experience in these areas enables applicants to make difficult decisions in stressful and time-sensitive situations. Such experience also prepares one to work with various agencies to ensure that proper resources are used to respond to emergencies.

For more information, see the profiles on police and detectives, firefighters, police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, and EMTs and paramedics.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require directors to obtain certification within a certain timeframe after being hired in the position.

Many agencies and states offer voluntary certificate programs to help emergency management directors obtain additional skills. Some employers may prefer or even require a Certified Emergency Manager® (CEM®), Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP), or equivalent designation. Emergency management directors can attain the CEM designation through the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM); the certification must be renewed every 5 years. The CBCP designation is given by the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI) and must be renewed every 2 years.

Both associations require applicants to complete a certain number of continuing education courses prior to recertification.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Emergency management directors must write out and communicate their emergency preparedness plans to all levels of government, as well as to the public.

Critical-thinking skills. Emergency management directors must anticipate hazards and problems that may arise from an emergency in order to respond effectively.

Decisionmaking skills. Emergency management directors must make timely decisions, often in stressful situations. They must also identify the strengths and weaknesses of all solutions and approaches, as well as the costs and benefits of each action.

Interpersonal skills. Emergency management directors must work with other government agencies, law enforcement and fire officials, and the general public to coordinate emergency responses.

Leadership skills. To ensure effective responses to emergencies, emergency management directors need to organize and train a variety of people.

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Top Skills for An Emergency Services Program Coordinator

  1. Background Checks
  2. Community Resources
  3. Curriculum Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conducted candidate follow up, employment verifications and background checks.
  • Coordinated community resources and community based services, including information and referral for additional services from government programs and nonprofit agencies.
  • Assisted with prevention/intervention/education curriculum development and presentations.
  • Coordinated the production of marketing brochures, mass mailings, and oversaw the creation of seminar registration materials.
  • Implemented staff training to insure provision of quality services.

Emergency Services Program Coordinator Demographics

Gender

Female

65.5%

Male

25.3%

Unknown

9.2%
Ethnicity

White

62.6%

Hispanic or Latino

19.4%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

4.4%

Unknown

2.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

60.0%

Swedish

20.0%

Greek

20.0%

Emergency Services Program Coordinator Education

Schools

Regis University

8.3%

University of Memphis

8.3%

University of Phoenix

8.3%

University of Massachusetts - Boston

8.3%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

4.2%

University of Washington

4.2%

Three Rivers Community College

4.2%

University of Houston

4.2%

Wilmington University

4.2%

New York Film Academy

4.2%

University of Florida

4.2%

California State University - Fresno

4.2%

University of North Texas

4.2%

Oakland University

4.2%

Hunter College of the City University of New York

4.2%

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

4.2%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.2%

Tuskegee University

4.2%

Hudson Valley Community College

4.2%

Western Kentucky University

4.2%
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Majors

Business

14.9%

Social Work

10.4%

Psychology

7.5%

Communication

7.5%

Education

7.5%

Management

4.5%

Computer Information Systems

4.5%

Theology

4.5%

Writing

4.5%

Educational Leadership

4.5%

Elementary Education

3.0%

Human Development

3.0%

Computer Applications

3.0%

Clinical Psychology

3.0%

Human Services

3.0%

English

3.0%

Public Administration

3.0%

Criminal Justice

3.0%

Counseling Psychology

3.0%

Sociology

3.0%
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Degrees

Masters

37.8%

Bachelors

28.6%

Other

20.4%

Certificate

7.1%

Doctorate

4.1%

Associate

1.0%

Diploma

1.0%
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Updated May 19, 2020