What Does a Disaster Specialist Do?

Misty Amber Brighton

Natural disasters often cause injuries or substantial property damage, and the job of a disaster specialist is to mitigate these losses. This could include preparing emergency plans for homes, businesses, or government agencies. Once an emergency management agency learns of a pending situation, part of the disaster specialist duties might be to warn the public. After a disaster, this individual is normally involved with cleanup efforts and may sometimes work with other organizations.

A disaster specialist is tasked with helping prepare for and respond to emergencies, including hurricanes and other natural disasters.
A disaster specialist is tasked with helping prepare for and respond to emergencies, including hurricanes and other natural disasters.

In many areas, government agencies oversee emergency plans for the public. A disaster specialist often works for one of these agencies and is responsible for developing plans for hurricanes, tornados, or earthquakes. This sometimes involves planning an evacuation route, educating citizens on how to respond to disasters, or setting up emergency shelters. During an actual emergency, the specialist may try to monitor events as they unfold to assess the amount of damage the disaster might cause and better plan how to help those affected by it.

A disaster specialist typically warns communities when a tornado is imminent.
A disaster specialist typically warns communities when a tornado is imminent.

A disaster specialist could also be employed at a business that hires hundreds of workers to help the company plan for the safety of its employees during a natural disaster. This may include the development of an emergency preparedness plan for that business so that managers already know how to react whenever certain situations occur. A disaster specialist could also be self-employed and visit private homes or smaller businesses to help them develop their own emergency preparedness plans.

Disaster specialists may distribute canned goods to those in affected areas.
Disaster specialists may distribute canned goods to those in affected areas.

Part of helping people prepare themselves for disasters involves notifying them of pending situations. A disaster specialist is normally one of the first to learn of tornado sightings or severe weather warnings; he or she passes this information along to radio or television outlets for broadcast to the public. Some areas have other ways of warning citizens, so the specialist may sound an emergency siren or post electronic signs on highways so people can be aware of potential dangers.

Bottled water is one item a disaster specialist may distribute.
Bottled water is one item a disaster specialist may distribute.

After a natural disaster has occurred, a disaster specialist is often responsible for developing a recovery plan. This normally involves visiting the site of the disaster in person and talking with victims affected by it. If the damage has been especially heavy, this could require the assistance of a disaster recovery team. The specialist may make recommendations to this group as how to best help people to save lives and restore homes and businesses.

Disaster specialists design ways for communities to survive flooding.
Disaster specialists design ways for communities to survive flooding.

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