Emergency Planning Officer

Emergency planning in local government involves the co-ordination and preparation of contingency plans, procedures and activities that deal with the challenges posed by major emergencies, for example, floods, the outbreak of highly infectious diseases in animals or humans, terrorist attacks, major accidents and so on.

Work Environment
Local government emergency planning officers are generally office based, but visits to a variety of locations such as airports, industrial facilities and oilrigs are also required.

Daily Activities
The work undertaken by local government emergency planning officers is very broad ranging and varies from council to council.  Duties might include some or all of the following:

  • working closely with a variety of other agencies, such as emergency and voluntary organisations, community groups, the military, central government, other local councils, and possibly international agencies to ensure the correct emergency plans, policies and procedures are in place;
  • researching any new developments that may have a bearing on emergency planning and making the relevant changes to plans and procedures in conjunction with partner organisations;
  • running scenario based training for local council staff and others from partner organisations, so they know what to do if a particular emergency situation arises and what their roles and responsibilities would be;
  • dealing directly with emergencies, for example, a local government emergency planning officer might receive a telephone call during the night about a flood caused by a burst water main - he/she may work at the scene along with partner organisations and coordinates the council's response;
  • organising review sessions with partner organisations after an emergency has happened, in order to evaluate the success of the response and make improvements to the procedures.

Skills & Interests
Local government emergency planning officers need:

  • to be excellent communicators who are able to liaise effectively with a range of different people;
  • the ability to remain calm and think clearly under pressure;
  • good planning and organisational skills;
  • the ability to lead and motivate others;
  • good research skills;
  • excellent written communication skills.

Entry Requirements
Local government emergency planners need a good standard of education and may find health and safety related qualifications useful.  Most employers also look for some previous experience in emergency planning or a related field, for example, those who have worked in the emergency services or the forces may have suitable experience.

Some officers may hold a specialist emergency planning qualification.  The Emergency Planning College offers relevant civil contingencies training and qualifications.

Training for continuous professional development is available through the Emergency Planning Society.
Future Prospects & Opportunities
There is some career progression from assistant level, through to emergency planning officer and emergency planning manager.  There might also be opportunities to progress to other local council departments such as planning and licensing, highways and transportation, community safety, or environmental services.

Further Information & Services
Emergency Planning College www.epcollege.com
Emergency Planning Society www.the-eps.org
UK Resilience, a Cabinet Office website http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/ukresilience

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales (www.careerswales.com/) or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.


Related Links