Making a difference in the lives of those around you is one of the most rewarding things you can possibly do. It’s also something that those in the medical field experience on a regular basis. But those who work in the medical field also enjoy great pay, good job growth potential, numerous benefit packages, and more. The public health field is one of the fastest growing areas in medicine, and allows you to enter a wide range of potential positions outside of the normal ‘direct patient care’ field. One option many are looking at is becoming a disaster preparedness coordinator.
This position allows you to help improve the health and safety of the general population or of a particular facility, and will come with challenges as well as numerous rewards. As such, it’s important to consider learning more about it to see if it will be a good fit for you. To find out whether or not it will be, keep reading.
What Is a Disaster Preparedness Coordinator?
A disaster preparedness coordinator is someone who works to plan ahead for disasters and to manage responses when they occur. It’s important to understand that this is far different from the kind of ‘doomsday preppers’ the television is so enamored with. Instead of simply hoarding goods, the disaster preparedness coordinator must take a realistic look at the way a facility or community will respond in the event of a disaster – whether it is an earthquake, a fire, a terrorist attack, or some other sudden calamity.
A disaster preparedness coordinator will have numerous duties, some of which include the following.
- Analyze a community or facility’s risks – whether they are at risk for specific natural disasters, manmade issues, or something else.
- Determine what areas of strength and weakness exist within the community or facility as it relates to the potential disaster.
- Work to develop guidelines and protocols that employees or residents will follow in the event of a disaster.
- Set these guidelines in place and educate those involved about them.
- Test specific areas of the plan to ensure it is working properly.
- Order any needed supplies or equipment, within budget, that may be needed in times of emergency.
- Provide educational materials to those who need them.
- Create prevention plans that will reduce the chances of serious issues from occurring.
Along with natural disasters, these professionals may also develop plans for smaller issues like hazardous spills or electrical outages. But no matter what, their primary focus is on working to prevent and prepare a community or a facility for potential disasters. Once a disaster occurs, these professionals will likely assume a leadership role and work to coordinate efforts between all involved.
Nature of the Work
The nature of the work is predominately office based. You’ll spend the vast majority of your time reviewing information and data, using it to gain a better understanding about disaster plans. You’ll also work to draft new plans that follow clear, concise guidelines and steps in order to ensure that if a disaster occurs, everyone is ready to deal with it effectively.
Most disaster preparedness coordinators will work in either the public sector for government agencies or for medical facilities or large universities. In the public sector, they may oversee coordination between multiple emergency departments – fire, rescue, medical, and police, for instance. Private sector jobs often focus more on organizing employees in such a way as to improve the overall response to incidents as they arise.
During times of disaster, the job becomes much more stressful and hectic, but also more rewarding.
Education and Training
In order to enter the field as a disaster preparedness coordinator you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in the field of emergency management. Additionally, several years of experience in the health care field will likely be required by most employers.
Salaries are very high, and average around $95,000 per year according to most estimates with some in the field earning more than $100,000 annually. That’s an amount that is well above the national salary average for all jobs. And the job demand is climbing, with growth of about 11 percent expected over the next ten years – a figure that is right on target with the national average for the country.