Emergency Management and Tactical Response Operations

Bridging the Gap


  • Thomas Phelan, President of Strategic Teaching Associates, Liverpool, NY, USA

Is emergency management education undoing an age-old tradition in the American Fire Service? Has the time arrived to educate emergency managers in college classrooms rather than in twenty years of tactical operations experience? Over one hundred forty-three (143) institutions of higher education are now offering certificate or degree programs in emergency management with no tactical operations experience required for admission. Resistance by veteran law enforcement officers and fire fighters may have to be overcome if we are to prepare emergency managers with required skill sets. Dr. Tom Phelan explores the skills being taught to emergency management students and addresses the concerns of experienced first responders in accepting their leadership.
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College and University Emergency Management professors and studentsEmergency managersFEMA, State EMO Employees


Book information

  • Published: May 2008
  • ISBN: 978-0-7506-8712-6


"The increased risks caused by global warming, terrorism and pandemics demand that the next generation of emergency managers not only be trained in the basics of disaster response tactical operations but also educated in preparedness, mitigation and long-term recovery planning and programs. Tom Phelan has built a solid case for how future generations of emergency managers can bridge this education gap based on case studies and real world experience. This book is a must read for all students hoping to build a career in emergency management..."--George Haddow, Principal, Bullock & Haddow LLC and co-author of Introduction to Emergency Management. "I applaud Dr. Phelan for writing this book for a number of reasons. First, I hold him in high regard, so getting someone of his caliber to take the time to share his insight and experience is a rare treat in our industry, which will benefit anyone who reads it. Second, his insight into the relationship between management and tactical operations is right on the money. Better coordination between first responders and emergency managers is key to achieving timely and well-coordinated results when minutes and dollars matter. Third, his involvement in organizations which focus on partnerships and private/public coordination is an important aspect of emergency planning that needs more attention. Organizations like Private and Public Businesses Inc., InfraGard, ChicagoFirst, the Chicago-based Lake Cook Critical Infrastructure Partnership and others across the country are doing wonderful work, but improved awareness through excellent references like this book is critical to continuing to communicate the message."--John Jackson, Executive Vice-President, Fusion Risk Management, Inc., and President, Chicago InfraGard Chapter "NEWS FROM THIS YEAR'S WORLD CONFERENCE ON DISASTER MANAGEMENT: Tom Phelan, Ed.D., presented a breakout session titled 'Emergency Management and Tactical Response Operations: Bridging the Gap,' in which he challenged attendees to rethink some of the field's fundamentals. He suggested, for example, that emergency managers might be prepared by college courses than by experience in fire, EMS or law enforcement, and pointed out that as of January 2010, the IAEM will require a bachelor's degree for its Certified Emergency Manager designation. Fortunately, he added, there are currently about 150 college programs in emergency management or homeland security in the U.S."--Scott Baltic, editor, Homeland1 newsletter

Table of Contents

There Never Used to Be a Gap; Tactical Operations vs. Management Skills; The Demands of Managing According to the Incident Management System; The Incident Commander: A Chief or a Manager?; What Colleges Have to Offer; The Career Path in Emergency Management; Case Study: Ground Zero; Case Study: The Tsunami Response in Sri Lanka; Case Study: Private and Public Perspectives from Katrina; The "Manager" in Emergency Management; Resistance; Working Together