What Emergency Management Directors Do
Emergency management directors may help train volunteers and first responders in emergency procedures.
Emergency management directors prepare plans and procedures for responding to natural disasters or other emergencies. They also lead the response during and after emergencies, often in coordination with fire and law enforcement officials, elected officials, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.
Emergency management directors typically do the following:
- Plan responses to emergencies and disasters in order to minimize risk to people and property
- Meet with law enforcement officials, private companies, and the general public to get recommendations regarding emergency response plans
- Organize emergency response training programs for staff, volunteers, and other first responders
- Coordinate the use and sharing of resources and equipment within the community to assist in emergency response
- 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 responses and report on the progress of such grants
- Revise and review local emergency operations plans
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. Directors must prepare plans and objectives that meet local, state, and federal regulations.
To develop emergency response plans, directors typically research “best practices” from around the country and from other emergency management agencies.
Directors must analyze the resources, equipment, and staff available to respond to emergencies. If resources or equipment is lacking, directors must either revise their plans or obtain the needed resources from another county or state. Many directors coordinate with fire, emergency medical service, and police departments in other counties to locate and share equipment during an emergency. Directors must be in contact with other agencies to collect and share data.
After plans are developed, emergency management directors typically ensure that individuals and groups become familiar with the emergency procedures.
Emergency management directors run training courses or 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 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 may also 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 coordinate getting assistance and supplies into the community. Directors may need to apply for state or federal assistance to help execute their emergency response plan. Directors also revise their plans and procedures when necessary, in order 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.