Disaster and Emergency Management Consultant
In some ways, Emergency Management isn’t really that new, Noah was probably the earliest Emergency Manager of note. Modern emergency planning and management involves planning for, protecting and maintaining public safety. Emergency planning professionals work as part of a team to anticipate and respond to threats to public safety such as acts of terrorism, natural disasters and major industrial accidents.
A growth industry
Approaches to emergency management have changed considerably over the last two decades in response to the growing recognition that there needs to be systems in place to respond to 21st century problems. It is no longer a gentle, pre-retirement option for people who have been in the military or in the police. Emergency management is now a profession which is supported by a range of qualifications, including a degree: a BSc in Disaster Management and Emergency Planning.
My career journey
My own pathway to this career is a mix of the old and the new. I was a Metropolitan police officer with some experience of contingency planning and major incident planning. This, together with actual real event experience, made emergency management a natural way to progress and develop my career. After a series of professional qualifications as well as more experience, including events around floods, fires, fuel, and foot and mouth, I set up a company in partnership with an ex-colleague. We help organisations and companies to prepare for the whole range of potential challenges which can disrupt both business and the community. My work also takes me abroad. Recently I spent 18 months implementing an emergency programme for a global engineer company that works across Europe and Africa.
A typical day
There isn’t one really. Although projects are planned, an incident can occur at any time and plans for the day change completely.
Writing exercises is always fun as it gives me the opportunity to do some script writing and scenario planning; it’s a bit like creating a film. They need to be real but challenging so I get to learn about lots of different things as I put the exercise together – chemicals, radiation, plane crashes, and terrorism are all areas I dip into. I’m currently writing an exercise for a company centred on an accidental exposure to anthrax.
Next week I fly to the US to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the creation of a new on-line training course to support the Principles of Emergency Management. I’m at the top of my profession and have been lucky to travel the world doing this job that I love.
Arthur Rabjohn, Director CCA Consultants and Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Emergency Managers