Disaster Preparedness: Why Is It Important and How Can You Get Ahead?

Every year, hundreds of Americans lose their lives because of natural disasters. While that number is far too high, it likely would be much higher without the work of people who specialize in emergency management and disaster preparedness.

People in this important field focus their efforts on creating disaster preparedness plans that save and protect property. The job is increasingly important as the number and intensity of natural disasters continue to grow.

Their work also goes beyond preparing for natural disasters. Disaster preparedness takes into account technological, manmade and health disasters, and terrorist attacks. Earning a degree that concentrates on emergency disaster management prepares graduates to become leaders in this critical field.

What Is Disaster Preparedness?

Disaster preparedness involves preparing a nation, state, local community, or private business to weather a disaster. Because most disasters strike without warning, having trained experts involved in planning is critical.

Preparing for the unforeseeable comes with many challenges. A person who works in disaster preparedness needs skills in:

  • Risk assessment and preparedness planning
  • Domestic emergency management
  • Management and preparedness for first and second responders
  • Management and integration of emergency operation plans

Demand for professionals with skills in disaster preparedness has never been higher. According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the world’s largest humanitarian network, it’s clearer than ever that people, governments, and businesses should prepare for “unexpected shocks.”

They write: “Epidemics, floods, storms, droughts, and wildfires are all expected to become more frequent and severe, affecting hundreds of millions of people every year.”

What Is a Disaster Preparedness Plan?

A disaster preparedness plan provides details on how a community can best prepare for and deal with a disaster. The plan aims to save lives, speed up post-event recovery, and protect private homes, public buildings, and commercial property.

Both governments and private businesses employ those with expertise in emergency disaster management, providing a wide variety of job opportunities in the field.

Emergency management leaders continually look for ways to improve disaster preparedness and response plans. But much like a family preparing their household to manage a disaster, they must first assess the current state of readiness. They then build new plans that typically include guiding principles from the U.S. National Response Framework that allows emergency responders at all levels to provide a unified response to disasters, from small incidents to large catastrophes.

What’s Included in a Disaster Preparedness Plan?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which created the National Response Framework, calls for disaster and emergency preparedness plans to:

  • Include strategic and operational planning that clearly establishes priorities
  • Establish expected performance levels and capability requirements
  • Create a set of standards for assessing capabilities
  • Provide guidelines that help stakeholders learn their roles and responsibilities in a disaster

Plans can vary between the different levels of government because of the size of the operation. They range from federal agencies like Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to state divisions of emergency management and city and county emergency management departments.

Private companies also benefit from putting emergency plans in place that protect employees, guard against damage to buildings and property, and allow a business to get back on its feet quickly. In writing about what such plans should include, the vice president of emergency management for Medxcel Facilities Management listed solid attributes for all emergency plans.

Foremost among them is a network that ensures people can communicate during a crisis and provide clear communication to the public. He also emphasized comprehensive training for all employees and a business continuity plan covering all the technology hardware and software, including backup systems, needed to get through a disaster.

The TUW Emergency Disaster Management Concentration

Touro University Worldwide takes a different approach to educating students who want to work in disaster preparedness. TUW places its Homeland Security Emergency Disaster Preparedness concentration within its Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program.

Students in the BSBA program learn foundational principles of managing an operation, including strategic leadership, management theory and ethics, organizational behavior, and managing and leading organizations. They also take courses in:

  • Emergency, Disaster, and Homeland Security
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • First and Second Responders Role in a Crisis
  • Homeland Security and Terrorism

The online program provides professionals the flexibility they need to earn a degree while maintaining their current jobs. They learn from faculty members with extensive experience in the field. TUW also offers a generous transfer credit policy.

Earning a BSBA in Homeland Security Emergency Disaster Management prepares graduates to take on leadership positions in a field that is growing in importance as the frequency of disasters – both natural and manmade – continues to increase.

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