Disaster training is available from a range of community colleges, specialized training centers, professional organizations, and associations. In addition to these formal sources of training, there are books, online courses, seminars, and journals dedicated to this growing field. Disaster training is a general term used to describe a wide range of skill sets and industries. For example, in the health services, disaster training is focused on epidemics, large influx of patients, and an urgent need for medical services. In the information technology industry, disaster training is focused on data recovery, power outages, and equipment failure.
In order to qualify for formal post-secondary disaster training programs, most schools will require completion of a high school diploma as a bare minimum. Many programs are post-graduate certificates, designed for a target audience within a specific industry or faculty. The admissions requirements vary, but are usually a combination of prior education and workplace experience. For example, nursing schools offer several post-graduate certificates in disaster management, and students are required to be fully licensed nurses to qualify for admittance.
A great source of less formal but very useful disaster training is professional associations. The interest in the area is growing across all industries, in the face of global climate changes and the need to protect the significant investment made in equipment and services. Most shareholders are now looking for a disaster recovery plan or strategy in the annual report. This type of information is considered a good indicator of risk management and overall good business practices.
There are books and published materials on disaster training and preparedness that are widely available. If you are looking to train yourself in the concepts and issues in this area, books are a great place to start. Becoming familiar with the terminology, challenges, and solutions used in other industries or countries is very important, as most of these concepts can be easily replicated.
Seminars, lectures, and online courses are often available through professional development initiatives, as part of sound risk management strategies. Take the time to review the course or seminar description to determine if the material included would be relevant and useful to you. Follow up on the qualifications of the instructor, and pay special attention to any professional designations or accreditation.
Each year, there are several disaster training conferences held in large cities around the world. These conferences are industry-specific but provide a great opportunity for attending courses, listening to presentations, and connecting with colleagues. This type of training is often the most expensive, due to the cost of travel and accommodation, but may be the most productive.