Prepping for a Living
Prepping is closely related to Emergency Management. The biggest difference is that prepping as we know it is more for ourselves and our families while emergency management is prepping for the community, city, county, region, state and nation. I think there are very few people that can make a living solely as "preppers." Some make it with teaching, others with supplying, but keeping my family ready for a crisis doesn't pay very well. Emergency management is a whole 'nother story. It is a growth industry, in the corporate world, and at all levels of government. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing areas around. Professional certifications, advanced degrees, organizations, industrial and government regulations... all contribute to the growth. As does public fear and demand that government be ready for disaster. I think much of this began with 9/11, but really came to the forefront from Katrina.
Most of my career has been in law enforcement and security management. I had some very basic training in what was then known as ICS (Incident Command Structure), but only ended up using the techniques a few times over the years. It was much more the field of the fire services. In 2003, President Bush declared Presidential Homeland Security Directive which was to: "enhance the ability of the United States to manage domestic incidents by establishing a single, comprehensive national incident management system. This management system is designed to cover the prevention, preparation, response, and recovery from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies."
As a part of that initiative, I had to take two introductory classes from FEMA that were taught by police officers who really didn't know what they were teaching and had no interest in the topic. You can guess how awful that training was. But I still found it somewhat interesting.
I started a new job five years ago and have become much more involved in the emergency management side of things. I've attended numerous on-line and in person training courses, earned the designation of Emergency Management Assistant, and taken an active role in my city's Emergency Operations Center during weather emergencies and large scale drills. Although I firmly believe that individuals must take responsibility for themselves, I've seen that some can't, and many just plain won't. Also, a coordinated plan and response is crucial to a community's infrastructure being protected or restored after a major disaster, and emergency management needs to do that.
What's Out There?
There are numerous colleges that now offer everything from Associate's Degrees to PhDs in Emergency Management, Homeland Security, or a similar course of study. Here are some with which I'm familiar:
Virginia Commonwealth University offers both a B.A. and a Master's in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. VCU was the first major university in the country to offer an undergraduate program in Homeland Security. The Master's degree in nearly all on-line and intended for working professionals around the world. Being a state school, the tuition is pretty reasonable, especially for Virginia residents.
Central Texas College offers an Associate's Degree in Homeland Security either on-line or at more than 20 locations (most on military bases) across the country.
American Military University has a Master of Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management as an on-line offering. They have the really catchy nickname of "Master of Disaster," complete with hats and polo shirts.
To be continued...
I'm having internet connection troubles tonight, so I'm going to cut this short. I'll continue tomorrow with some of the organizations and certifications for an emergency management career tomorrow.