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No doubt you would have heard it before – our world is a changing place and disasters will become more common in the future. Climate change and the increasing frequency and severity of disasters will challenge our emergency managers.

What skills and qualities will emergency managers require in the future? The Disaster Brothers put their heads together and came up with the top four:

Ability to embrace change
Change is all around us – technology will change our lives at an increasingly rapid pace and emergency managers of the future will embrace new opportunities as they arise. Innovation will drive new ways of business but there will be periods of uncertainty and instability to navigate. Emergency managers of the future are change agents who actively seek new opportunities and share their learnings.

A more challenging disaster landscape will require creative approaches to disaster risk reduction and response. Creativity isn’t about being able to paint or sing – it’s about developing new ideas for doing things differently, finding new ways of solving a problem and having the curiosity to explore and challenge the status quo.

Emergency managers will continue to work more closely with affected communities. People impacted by a disaster are less interested in who helps them, but care more about their life returning to normal as quickly as possible. In the future emergency managers will need to listen more to communities and provide greater breadth to a coordinated response and recovery effort. Skilled emergency managers will have their finger on the pulse of the community sentiment and be agile, making changes to plans and strategies as required.

Emotional Intelligence
Disasters are emotional periods – both for those affected, and for the emergency services providing assistance. Emergency managers will need greater emotional intelligence in the future as disasters become more complex and we become more involved with local communities. The ability to better understand how to adjust our behaviour based on the emotions of others and ourselves has not always been recognised as a necessary skill however emotionally savvy operators will be in demand in the future.

Do you have what it takes to be an emergency manager in the future? What other skills be necessary? Let us know!

Andrew McCullough

Andrew works and volunteers in emergency management and has tertiary qualifications in engineering, business, disaster management and public relations. Andrew is passionate about engaging local communities to become more resilient.