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The emergency management professional

We will now explore whether there is a need for ‘professionalisation’ within the emergency and disaster management sector and discover what this means in terms of training

Across the sub-sectors within emergency and disaster management (emergency management, incident management, public safety and security, business continuity and organisational resilience, humanitarian response, disaster risk reduction) we have seen a shift towards the view that this is a ‘profession’. Historically, perhaps, it has been a role, part of a wider portfolio of roles that made up an individual’s job description; or perhaps one that was done as a second career utilising skills from a first career in the uniformed services or the military.

Here we are presented with something of a chicken and egg situation – in order to be a professional shouldn’t there be a profession to join? There is a difference between performing the role professionally (conforming to sector expectations and effectively applying skills and knowledge to the best of one’s ability) and there being an agreed criteria that practitioners must fulfil in order to be formally recognised as a professional. Consider the medical, engineering, legal professions as examples.

Further reading

As further reading on this subject you may wish to read the following article which gives an insight into the challenges of creating an emergency management profession in the UK.

Coles (2014) A Real Profession or Simply ‘professional’? Some Thoughts on the Status of Emergency Management in the UK Emergency Management Review [online] 2(1) 22 - 43, available from https://emr-wlv.com/index.php/emr/article/view/9 [27 April 2020]

Your task

In your opinion what are the components that make up a ‘professional’ working in a ‘profession’?

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This article is from the free online course:

Emergency and Disaster Training and Exercising: An Introduction

Coventry University