I want to break into the EM world, but how

Are you looking to gain experience in emergency management and break into the industry?

How many times have you posed that question and the response you received was:

“You should volunteer with an agency”. 

That advice isn’t for everyone (and I think it’s old). Some of you have jobs, families, transitioning career paths, or other legit responsibilities. Plus, there is no guarantee that volunteering will get you the post you are looking for.

If you have followed me for some time, you know that I came into the EM world from the long way around, and not the typical EM career path. So here are 3 ways to gain experience (and maybe make some $):

1.) TEACH PREPAREDNESS CLASSES – Did you know that in addition to the training, exercises, and planning that EM’s do, outreach is a vital aspect of the job and one that is sorely needed. EM’s need the community to be prepared, so take the initiative and train others. You can start with your neighborhood, your friends, or houses of worship. But then branch off and talk to your local chamber of commerce and ask to host a business ready class and train them in how to prepare their businesses for a disaster. I have seen countless EM positions around the country whose sole job is “Outreach and Preparedness Specialist”, even FEMA has that position.

2.) TAKE A JOB THAT INTERACTS WITH EM– EM doesn’t work alone. Public works, emergency dispatchers, private business, utilities, etc all interact with the EM world. Find a job that intersects with EM and work your way to the EM post. This was actually how I broke into the EM world. I was originally an EMS dispatcher who worked his way to the local Level 1 trauma center. There we worked alongside EMS, Fire, FEMA, Public Health, and state/local emergency management. The options are there and there isn’t a sole course to take.

3.) HIT THE SOCIAL MEDIA CIRCUIT – Be a trusted source for EM content and push out engaging material. Bring awareness to the community of EM. I have been a big believer in the concept of “EM 2.0″. This is the new age of emergency management, where we leverage technology, innovation, and thinking to bring about a new set of preparedness, response, and recovery to emergency management. Get to know the social media resources that are out there, the apps, what people are talking about and then leverage it to the EM world. The 2017 hurricanes brought spotlight to crowdsourcing apps and technology that played a huge role in the response and supplemented the efforts of the responders. That can be you. Leverage it, understand it, and put it to use.

Emergency management is changing and I think that there will be major changes on the horizon ahead in regards to what we will be looking at in the next 5-10 years. Position yourself now with the tools and resources to gain a foothold on what is to come.

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