What is Public Safety and Emergency Management?

public safety officer directing traffic

Public safety and emergency management are broad fields with a vast range of career possibilities. Typically, students who choose degree programs in this area are service-minded individuals who feel compelled to protect others in their communities. Many public safety and emergency management employees enter the field as entry-level workers, without specific academic credentials. But in order to advance, it is essential to demonstrate professional competency with a bachelor’s degree from a respected university.

Overview of Public Safety and Emergency Management

Broadly defined, public safety and emergency management are the foundation by which a community identifies potential hazards, reduces the risk of those hazards occurring and establishes effective responses to those hazards. This is a multidisciplinary field that involves risk-based assessments, resource coordination and advocacy work. Some professionals work behind the scenes to protect the public, while others put their communication talents to work by directly educating people in their communities about risk management and emergency preparedness.

Types of Careers in Public Safety and Emergency Management

A degree in public safety and emergency management is a versatile credential that is appropriate for individuals who are interested in a career in any of the following fields:

  • Law enforcement
  • Emergency medical response
  • Fire protection, inspection and investigation
  • Environmental health and safety
  • Natural disaster response
  • Probation and corrections
  • Transportation safety

These are just a few examples. A degree in public safety and emergency management is a well-respected credential that can open many doors.

Examples of Public Workplaces

Many types of workplaces need individuals with a background in public safety and emergency management. There is a high demand in local, state and federal government agencies for risk management specialists. On the national and state levels, an emergency management specialist might work to protect the public from these threats:

  • Acts of terrorism
  • Civil disturbances
  • Oil spills
  • Radioactive contamination
  • Earthquakes, wildfires, floods and hurricanes
  • Power grid failures

On a local level, an emergency management and public safety specialist might work to make traffic grid improvements with the intention of reducing traffic-related fatalities and injuries. This professional might also establish or enforce safety codes, or coordinate risk management initiatives for major events.

Examples of Private Workplaces

Additionally, there are many public safety and emergency management specialists who work for privately held or not-for-profit organizations, rather than public entities. For instance, school districts, transportation companies and major hospitals need crisis management and risk mitigation experts to design and implement emergency plans, including evacuation routes and shelter designations. Some emergency management professionals choose to specialize in one particular area, such as healthcare. In this capacity, a person might develop the hospital’s response to natural disasters like hurricanes. When a hurricane approaches, the specialist is responsible for ensuring the smooth implementation of those emergency plans.

If you graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety and Emergency Management from Grand Canyon University, you might want to consider pursuing one of our related master’s degrees, such as the Master of Public Administration, to further excel your career in the workforce.

Grand Canyon University’s Colangelo College of Business provides comprehensive education to individuals who currently work in public safety fields and those who aspire to do so. Click on the Request More Information button and answer a few questions to get started.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.