Disasters like floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, famine and terrorist attacks cause serious damage to property and human lives because they hit without notice.
Top five countries that were most frequently hit by natural disasters in the last decade include China, India, United States, Philippines and Indonesia. In the year 2014, natural disasters claimed 7,823 lives, which is the lowest in the last decade and much below the annual average of 99,820 deaths, recorded between 2004 and 2013.
The Asian continent was the most often hit, followed by America, Europe and Africa among others.
Once the damage by natural disasters has been done, it requires a substantial amount of effort to bring the situation back to normal. Both skilled technicians and large manpower are employed to facilitate the recovery process.
For example, Hurricane Harvey which hit the United States killed at least 66 people and caused massive loss to property. The catastrophic inland flooding submerged hundreds of thousands of homes and displaced over 30,000 people. It’s said to be the worst disaster in the history of Texas. Experts believe that the recovery process may take several years to complete.
If you want to help people in urgent need and make a positive difference in their lives, you can plan to take up one of the many disaster relief jobs available out there.
There are different types of disaster relief jobs. Some of the most important roles are as follows:
• Community Outreach
• Emergency Management
• First Aid
• Ambulance Service
• Roading & Infrastructure staff
While normal jobs can be easily found in newspapers, on the internet and through personal reference, specific emergency jobs are usually advertised on job boards, both regional and international.
Preparation for Disaster Relief Careers
A successful career in disaster or emergency management requires formal education, technical qualification and adequate experience. Anyone looking to occupy jobs in this field should learn the safety protocols and have good knowledge about different emergency response systems. Disaster management jobs are tough to handle. Unless you have prior experience of working with some government and non-profit disaster relief agencies, you aren’t ready to take up these jobs. You really need to be well prepared before you jump in.
Essential career tips include:
• Read disaster management literature, offline and online
• Get enrolled in emergency management courses
• Research the history and culture of places you plan to go to
• Acquire a degree in homeland security, disaster management etc
• Improve your language skills
• Keep your travel documents up to date
Most importantly, you need to make sure you’re in good health before you take up these jobs.
There’s no dearth of disaster management job opportunities for aspirants. If you’re trained, educated and prepared to provide expert help in emergency situations, you should consider these.
Federal Government: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which falls under the US Department of Homeland Security regularly recruits for its emergency response team. If you want to apply for these jobs, you can visit the official website of FEMA. The agency offers both contractual and continuous employment.
International: Agencies like the United Nations (UN) and the Red Cross advertise a number of disaster relief jobs. The UN collaborates with many agencies to supply food and medications for victims of disaster. Likewise, the Red Cross hires a large number of employees for different disaster relief job positions.
Religious: Job opportunities also exist with multiple religious organizations located in different parts of the world. Such agencies offer jobs both at the federal and the state level. Trustworthy among these include Samaritan’s Purse, Catholic Charities, The Salvation Army (previously The Christian Mission), UMCOR etc.
Other Sources: Apart from those mentioned above, there are many smaller charitable agencies that offer paid employment. These agencies either function on their own or as part of bigger organizations. But you should conduct some background check before you commit to work with any of these agencies for credibility and legitimacy.
Personality Requirements for Emergency Jobs
It’s important to know whether a disaster management job is a good fit for the kind of person you are.
Working in emergency situations like flooding, hurricanes and earthquakes is not suitable for everyone. To build a successful career in this field, you should be able to deal with work pressure, have a high tolerance level and be sensitive to cultural differences. A positive, open mind is key to enjoying the disaster relief work.
Emergency management jobs require spending time in remote locations, far removed from the normal amenities of the modern world. So, you may need to live in small tents or share a room with many other co-workers. These jobs will also require you to make personal sacrifices like working for hours on end without receiving much praise for what you’re doing. These are conditions that you need to adapt yourself to quickly while dispensing your responsibilities.
How to Stand Out and Win Over Employers
Even if you have a strong willingness to help victims, it’s not easy to break into the field of disaster relief. Thousands of skilled graduates are trying to build a successful career out of emergency management. To beat out the stiff competition and score your dream job, you should start career preparation as early as possible.
Useful tips you can use include:
Focus on Work in One Area: There are multiple roles that you can fill in the field of emergency management. But you should choose one which motivates you the most. Right from the beginning, you should focus on your chosen area of work and try to break into that particular department. The disaster relief field is huge and even if you focus on just one area of work, you’ll find ample opportunities for success.
Volunteer: Check out portals like United Nations Volunteers for available volunteering programs. Working as a volunteer allows you to build some key skills, relevant working experience and expand your professional network. It gives you the much-needed edge that you can use to get a well-paid job in the future.
Attend Disaster Relief Conferences: While you’re still in college, look out for possibilities to attend seminars and conference that address topics like disaster relief, emergency management, humanitarian crisis and public health among others. Use these events to broaden your knowledge base and network with leaders.
Conduct Informational Interviews: Find out people who are already working in the disaster relief field and request them for informational interviews. An informational interview is a powerful tool that you can use to get an insider scoop from people who have been there and done that, get valuable career advice and seek job leads. In any case, prepare yourself to ask the right questions before you begin the interviewing.
Are you ready for a career in disaster relief? Jobs abound for those who possess the knowledge, skills and aptitude required by this profession – and an unwavering passion to serve humanity.