Online emergency preparedness degrees are designed to teach students how to be effective leaders during crisis situations, such as a natural disaster or an act of terrorism. An incident like this can lead to mass hysteria in the public, and emergency management professionals are trained to implement a jurisdiction’s emergency preparedness plan to minimize or avoid the public’s exposure to injuries and prevent loss of human life. This might involve safely evacuating dangerous areas, arranging for shelters for people affected by a crisis, and coordinating emergency response teams, such as search-and-rescue efforts, EMS, and fire.
Emergency preparedness degrees, sometimes referred to as emergency management degrees, are ideal for military and civilian first responders, such as emergency medical technicians (EMTs), firefighters, and police officers. Course work emphasizes disaster risk assessment, disaster prevention and management, fire defense planning, hazardous materials management, and disaster psychology. Some emergency preparedness degrees also incorporate course work in homeland security since an effective response to acts of war or domestic and international terrorist attacks is often built into a city’s emergency management plans.
Careers that require or benefit from hiring personnel with a knowledge of emergency preparedness include police supervisors, fire and police chiefs, emergency management directors, security managers and specialists, and airport security officers. Emergency management directors in particular must not only be able to develop and implement an emergency response plan, but must also be able to hire and train emergency personnel and manage an emergency management budget. An emergency preparedness degree online equips students in these skills, and also helps them become effective communicators, as building successful community partnerships and coalitions is crucial to a good emergency response plan.