Bombs in Bali, hurricanes in Florida, Guatemalan mud slides, earthquakes in Kashmir, Asian tsunami, famine in Africa: a week rarely passes without scenes of disasters flashing around the world. It's not just climate, geology and human beings that cause disasters: their causes can be technological, scientific or biological too. Refinery fires, factory explosions, train crashes, HIV Aids, and perhaps even a mutating avian or swine flu virus can also be disasters, sometimes with worldwide impact. Disaster management is a rapidly emerging subject and professionals with academic qualifications and practical experience have key roles in lessening the impact of human and ecological catastrophe.
Disaster or emergency management is about dealing with a disaster but also looking for and implementing strategies that could prevent or at least minimise the chance of them happening again or minimising their impact. It is a continuous process, not just a reaction to a specific event. The management of disasters is not an exact process. It is dependent on local economic factors, conditions, the weather, the number of people involved and the whether the emergency has been caused by nature or human beings.
Example areas of study
There are a few courses in this area and the modules offered for study do vary. The list below is intended as a guide but it is important that you check that the focus of the course matches your interested with the institutions themselves.
- Emergency planning procedures
- Hazards, risks and disasters
- Technological development, environmental and sustainable development
- Law and management fundamentals
- Political, international and social issues
- Roles of key agencies
- Relief co-ordination and planning
- Field skills
- Disaster theory, statistics and logistics
- Disaster mitigation, preparedness and response
- Earth catastrophes, fire and explosion
- Physical, psychological and social reconstruction of disaster-affected communities
Some Career possibilities
Opportunities once you graduate may arise in the emergency services, emergency planning and response services, government agencies, local authorities, relief agencies, United Nations organisations, uniformed services, non-governmental organisations.
What do I need to get on a course?
The entry requirements for courses in disaster management do vary so it is important to check with the institutions themselves what grades and qualification you will need before you submit your application. The list below is intended as a guide:
- UCAS Tariff: 180 - 240 points including a geography and science subject
- A-level: BC - AA including science, mathematics or design and technology
- SQA Highers: CCC including mathematics and science
- SQA Advanced Highers: BC - AA including mathematics and science
- Irish Leaving Certificates: CCC including mathematics and science
- International Baccalaureate: 30 including mathematics, science and engineering
- BTEC National Diploma: MM-MMP in engineering, science or construction
For your application or interview, evidence of the following could be useful:
- Voluntary work for agencies such as the Red Cross, Oxfam or within a hospital environment
- Scouts/Duke of Edinburgh awards, armed forces cadets
- Overseas travel/gap year work
- A good site full of useful links can be found at www.keele.ac.uk/depts/por/disaster.htm
To find out more about the typical subjects you will study, potential career paths and further information useful for your application log-on to Course Discover at www.coursediscoveronline.co.uk*
*NB: Your school or college will need a subscription to Course Discover in order for you to gain access, for further information go to:www.coursediscover.co.uk