How Do I Choose the Best Disaster Management Courses?

Anna B. Smith

To choose the best disaster management courses, students should choose course work that will prepare them to handle a variety of different crisis situations, and will provide them with an internationally recognized certificate of achievement upon completion. Locally offered courses better equip students to work with a variety of government agencies that may be dispatched to the site of a disaster, and provide hands on instruction and demonstrations between the students and the teacher. This type of course work is typically offered by local government agencies, community colleges, and four year universities.

Disaster management courses should prepare students to work with different agencies.
Disaster management courses should prepare students to work with different agencies.

The purpose of disaster management courses is to create a group of educated individuals who are capable of handling almost any type of crisis that may arise in their home city, region, or country. Classes should cover both natural and man made disasters, and require research into recent national and global crisis situations that have destabilized infrastructures and endangered public health. Acts of terrorism as a man made disaster are in a state of constant evolution, and students should be equipped to deal with chemical and biological agents of warfare. Students must be able to recognize signs of an infection or outbreak, and know immediately the steps of isolation, quarantine, and medical treatment that are to be followed.

Course materials should prepare students to work with a wide variety of government agencies. Many disasters, whether an act of terrorism or an act of God, receive attention from both local and national aid crisis response teams. Local law enforcement officers can also play a role in such situations, and often are the first responders to a disaster scene. Students should learn during their disaster management courses the proper channels through which to direct requests for food, shelter, and medical relief. This type of training will also teach them the chain of authority in case of a breakdown of infrastructure, and how two or more agencies can work together to achieve the common goal of providing assistance to those in need.

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Students will benefit from taking disaster management courses offered by agencies in their local regions. Many countries and individual cities have a recorded history of disasters that have affected the area, and have created a systematized response to deal with similar crises that might arise in the future. Regionally offered courses can equip students to work within these guided systems, and use the disaster relief measures already established. Understanding these methods and utilizing them can help relief workers avoid making the same mistakes that may have been made in previous disaster scenarios. These local courses also typically provide hands on training opportunities, including life saving techniques, that students can practice and perfect under the supervision of a teacher.

The best disaster management courses will provide students with a nationally and internationally recognized certificate of achievement. Though no one internationally recognized program of disaster preparedness exists, a few select non-profit organizations have earned reputations for producing quality disaster response personnel. Students may benefit from first researching job opportunities in which they are interested, and learning the credentials required for those specific credentials, before searching for matching course work. Certifications received from international boards, however, are typically recognized by most hiring employers, and are widely accepted.

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