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Introduction to Emergency Management

Learn how to prepare for and manage risks that can impact communities and the environment with experts in the field.

An emergency support officer standing on rubble

Explore global emergency management with Massey University

This four-week course will introduce you to emergency management to help you better prepare for, manage, and recover from emergencies.

Throughout the course, you will be provided with risk and emergency management examples from around the world to help you become familiar with the fundamental concepts.

You’ll also learn from internationally recognised emergency management experts associated with Massey University. Some of the experts you will meet have managed emergencies such as the Canterbury earthquake of 2011.

Unpack organisational and community resilience

Resilience is a key component of emergency management. Within this course, you will explore factors that impact community and organisational resilience and the best ways to build resilience.

This knowledge will also help you better understand risks and how you can reduce risk through planning.

Delve into risk response

With the knowledge of planning for risks, you’ll explore risk response management and how you can ensure both organisational and community readiness.

Understanding the importance of collaboration and coordination, you’ll learn how to best support communities with risk reduction and disaster response. You’ll also discover the emergency response frameworks you can use in your context.

Explore emergency and disaster recovery

On the final week of the course, you’ll investigate recovery management methods from both emergencies and disasters.

You’ll delve further into readiness for recovery and the role of insurance as you investigate different case studies to see these concepts in practice.

By the end of the course, you’ll have the knowledge of emergency management and how you can best prepare communities and the environment for emergency response.


  • Week 1

    It starts with Risk

    • Welcome to emergency management

      Setting the scene to get you started on your learning journey!

    • Emergency management defined

      What exactly is Emergency Management...Let's find out!

    • The importance of emergency management

      Why is Emergency Management so important? Take a step inside this activity to find out...

    • How emergency management has evolved

      Let's take a look at how Emergency Management has changed over the years.

    • Legislative considerations

      Rules, regulation and legislation are guiding forces for how emergencies are managed. Let's find out more about that...

    • The role of legislation

      Legislation is an important factor in preventing further unnecessary chaos when managing emergencies. Let's talk about the role of legislation...

    • Case study: Canterbury earthquakes

      Explore Emergency Management through an example of the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010/2011.

    • Case study: Queensland floods

      Explore Emergency management through an example of the Queensland floods of 2010/2011.

    • Determining risk

      Assessing the level of risk involved when managing emergencies is an important step in the successful management of an emergency or disaster. Let's see how...

    • Case study: New Orleans

      Let's take a look at Emergency Management efforts during the Hurricane Katrina tropical cyclone of 2005.

    • Case study: Wellington tsunami

      Explore the resilience and risk reduction initiative that is currently underway in Wellington.

  • Week 2

    Risk readiness & resilience

    • Community resilience during emergencies

      Mitch introduces the concept of community resilience and its role in the Emergency Management process.

    • Community resilience indicators

      Mitch takes a closer look at community resilience by discussing the indicators of resilience.

    • Growing resilient communities

      Resilience is a learned skill that is beneficial for individuals, communities and organisations to possess when faced with an emergency or disaster.

    • Organisational resilience in the face of emergency

      Just like communities need to learn how to be resilient, so do organisations. Mitch takes a look at how organisations can become more resilient.

    • What exactly is risk?

      Risk is an important factor in the Emergency Management process. Mitch takes a look at risk and hazards.

    • Climate change and Emergency Management

      Does climate change impact Emergency Management? It sure does! Mitch explores how and what we can do to be prepared.

    • Planning is everything

      Risk can be reduced through planning. Mitch talks about how to plan for managing and reducing risk.

    • How to reduce the level of risk

      Now that we have looked at risk and how it impacts resilience, Mitch takes a look at how to reduce the levels of risk.

  • Week 3

    Risk response management, collaboration, & coordination

    • Contemporary response measures

      Mitch explores modern day Emergency Response measures.

    • Being ready for emergency management in organisations

      How do organisations manage Emergencies? Mitch explores this concept.

    • Being ready to respond as a community

      Resilience is only the first step to being a prepared community. Let's take a look at what else communities can do to be ready to respond.

    • Community support and engagement

      Support and engagement are key factors to successful Emergency Management response initiatives. See what Mitch suggests as the best practice to engage and support communities during response initiatives.

    • Frameworks to assist with responding to emergencies

      It would be difficult to respond to emergencies without a trien and tested method. Mitch takes a look at the suggested frameworks that inform how people successfully respond to emergencies.

    • The powers that be

      We talked about Legislation but, it is important to take a closer look at the powers, structures and arrangements that governments use to manage an emergency.

    • Planning to respond

      During emergencies, you will need to decide how you will respond. Sometimes you will have to make sudden educated decisions but, having a plan can save time and lives.

    • Lessons learned

      Mitch reflects on the lessons that have been learned over the years to refine Emergency Management response in the most efficient and effective manner.

    • Collaborating to reduce risk

      Collaboration (team work) can be challenging but, it is one of the key factors in successfully managing emergencies and disasters.

    • The importance of international cooperation

      If COVID-19 has taught us anything it is the importance of international collaboration. Mitch takes a look at the meaning of international collaboration.

  • Week 4

    Emergency/Disaster Recovery

    • The Basics of Recovery Management

      Take a look at how communities and organisations can recover from disasters and emergency situations.

    • The Long-term Impacts of Recovery Management

      Explore the realities and issues involved in understanding and managing recovery from the long-term impacts of emergencies.

    • Readiness: The Key to Recovery

      There is a need to be ready to activate and scale up recovery management capabilities when the need arises. Let's explore this further!

    • Insurance During a Time of Recovery

      Disasters are expensive. Responding to disasters is expensive. Recovering from disaster is expensive. That is where insurance comes in to help compensate for specified losses, damage, illness, or death.

    • Models to Support Recovery

      The main presenter for this topic is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Emergency Management Agency in New Zealand. Sarah provide an explanation of New Zealand's national recovery management model.

    • What is the Process of Recovery?

      This Activity introduces the role, structures, and processes of effective recovery management.

    • The Psychosocial Aspects of Resilience and Recovery

      One of the key components of successful disaster recovery is psychosocial recovery which considers the impacts of disaster on social and psychological aspects of the communities involved.

    • Resilient Communities

      Resilience building should be a continuous consideration across all of the 4 Rs (reduction, readiness, response, recovery) of emergency management. Discusses community resilience in more detail, through a case study.

    • Recovery Barriers

      We are going to look at a recovery case study to to bring everything together. The Canterbury earthquakes is one such example that hits home for many.

    • Course Conclusion

      Course conclusion and exam.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the basic concepts of risk.
  • Discuss the concepts of risk readiness and resilience.
  • Compare frameworks and models that inform risk response management, collaboration & coordination.
  • Explore how communities and organisations recover from disasters and emergencies.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in preparing for and managing the risks associated with disasters.

Anyone who is concerned about disasters, lives on a fault line, a bushland setting, or is involved in local governments or emergency services will also benefit from this course.

Who developed the course?

Massey University

Massey is world-leading in many academic disciplines and fields of research and is consistently ranked in the top 3% of universities worldwide (QS World University Rankings).

  • Established

  • Location

    Palmerston North, Aotearoa (New Zealand)
  • World ranking

    Top 290Source: QS World University Rankings 2022

Joint Centre for Disaster Research (JDCR)

The Joint Centre for Disaster Research provides a state of the art, high-quality, graduate teaching and contemporary research programme to both Aotearoa New Zealand and people worldwide.

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
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  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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