A member of our team recently conducted an informal survey of emergency managers and confirmed what many suspect.
A group of approximately 1500 people associated with an online emergency management forum were invited to participate in the anonymous, online survey. It contained 25 questions and took respondents an average of 14 minutes to complete it.
Below are some survey response highlights.
- Most survey respondents (57%) work as city/county emergency managers. The next largest group work as university emergency managers (22%). Respondents work an average of 41 hours each week and nearly half (52%) have 10 years of experience in the profession. Their median annual salary is $62,000. Nearly 83% were either satisfied or very satisfied with their job.
- Respondents believe their programs are most successful managing relationships and exercising. Public preparedness, recovery, planning and mitigation are areas where programs struggle most.
- Over 70% of respondents believe their organization’s performance is better than adequate. Limited staff, authority, and funding were identified as their biggest program threats.
- Nearly 30% of respondents have not performed a hazard and vulnerability assessment within the last year. Nearly half do not perform strategic planning or annual work planning (44% and 52%, respectively). However, 78% believe their programs manage projects well and 82% believe they are ready for most disasters.
- There is no clear consensus about what being “ready” means, but most believe it involves some degree of training, planning, equipping, supplying, procedure development and exercising.
- Respondents spend 40% of their work time doing administrative work and in meetings that support other people and programs.
- There is no clear consensus for where EM efforts should be focused over the next 5 years. The largest cluster of interest (17% of respondents) centered around the idea of better preparing the public and vulnerable populations.
The survey reveals that many emergency managers believe readiness, program success, and job satisfaction have more to do with managing relationships and administrative requirements. Systematic program assessment, strategy development, work planning, and outcome management are not yet widely seen as enablers or enhancers of program success.