What is Disaster Response?

Disaster response is a field concerned with what happens in the hours, days, weeks and even months or years following an emergency situation. A disaster may involve some type of natural event such as a forest fire or an earthquake, but it can also involve terrorist attacks and similar incidents. Though some of the jobs in this field are with the federal government, there are also positions available with the state or local government and with independent agencies or companies too. Many of those jobs require some type of college degree.

Areas of Response

One of the areas within the disaster response is search and rescue. After an emergency occurs, search and rescue specialists go into the field and look for survivors. These specialists often go through some type of on the job training, and some work as firefighters or in the police department. Damage assessment is another field. Specialists will arrive on the scene to look at the damage sustained in the incident and create a plan to help repair that damage. Other areas of response include emergency prevention, survivor assistance and emergency management. There are even doctors and nurses who work in the field to help survivors.

Where You Can Work

You can work in the United States or abroad with a degree in this field. The Red Cross and other similar organizations need workers who can travel to areas around the world to help immediately after an emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which works under the Department of Homeland Security, needs volunteers and workers who can help survivors find shelter, arrange for the transportation and delivery of necessary items and offer counseling or legal assistance to those survivors. You can also work for nonprofit agencies, private organizations, fire departments or police departments.

Types of Jobs

Some of the jobs open in this field require that workers help others prepare for emergency situations. They might create evacuation plans for companies and offices, help cities learn what to do during a terrorist attack and create contingency plans for a wide range of possible disasters. Others ensure that offices and companies know what to do through the use of mock disasters. They train clients on what to do and how to react before staging mock scenarios to test their skills. A large number of people working in this field work with survivors after a disaster occurs too.

Education Needed

The level of education needed to work in disaster response often depends on the exact job that you want. Police officers usually need to go graduate from the police academy or a police training program, and firefighters may go through on the job training. While some colleges offer an associate’s degree in disaster planning or a similar subject, most of those working in this field have at least a bachelor’s degree. Managers and directors working for government agencies and departments often need a master’s degree. Going to college lets you see some of the jobs available in disaster management and may let you gain some field experience in the form of an internship.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Homeland Security Degree Programs

Disasters can strike at any moment and at any time. Those working in disaster response offer assistance to survivors of those incidents and help clients, organizations and even government departments learn what to do before an emergency occurs.