Preparing for disasters and emergencies takes measured planning and preparation. Add a global pandemic into the mix and it becomes much more difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic has added another layer of concern to the professionals who work in emergency management. Previously established plans and tactics can change overnight due to quickly shifting scenarios. In fact, during the pandemic, the United States activated every emergency-based agency at once. According to U.S. Census Bureau information, FEMA declared every state in the country as a disaster area in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Emergency management trends have shifted to tackle emergencies during the pandemic and will likely morph and change to deal with the global effects. The pandemic has changed how we plan for emergencies, including how the United States accrues and stores personal protective equipment.

Emergency Management in a Post-Pandemic World

While the news coverage of other emergencies and disasters wasn’t as pronounced during the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, they still occurred. To deal with natural disasters such as floods, wildfires, hurricanes, or winter storms, emergency management professionals and response teams had to adjust plans to account for COVID-19 guidelines during the pandemic.

Constructing emergency preparedness plans that can transform and change to meet any situation — including natural disasters, protests, unrest, or terrorism — is critical. Pandemic preparedness includes taking advantage of existing plans and strengthening them to work at a larger scale. Emergency management plans during a health crisis should include direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department.

The United States’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic — in all its successes and failures — will be a learning tool for dealing with the next waves of infection and the potential for additional pandemics. Considering that the Council on Foreign Relations has identified 40 new human infectious diseases within the last few decades, it’s likely that another pandemic outbreak will eventually happen. Therefore, how emergency management professionals mitigate the effects of a pandemic while dealing with additional emergencies is important.

While many emergency management professionals are trained to anticipate and sort out the aftermath of traumatic emergencies such as earthquakes, floods, and fires, the COVID-19 pandemic has added the aspect of mental health to the list of concerns. The psychological impact of COVID-19 is widespread, and emergency management professionals should prepare for more extensive training on how to mitigate mental health needs. In addition, stay-at-home orders, spending prolonged time with family, and the interruption of life and work schedules can spur loneliness, claustrophobia, negative emotions, and stress-related anxiety.

What Can You Do with a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management Online?

A Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management online from Barry University will prepare you to adapt and apply emergency management skills to a wide array of threats, emergencies, and disasters. By taking classes in international emergency management, disasters and complex emergencies, mitigation, preparedness, psychosocial issues, and leadership, you can pursue a career to assist with hazard mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery in both the public and private sectors. Emergency management professionals are qualified to work in healthcare, education, science, technology, law, management, and the military. Students can complete the degree in as few 12 months.=

Learn more about Barry University’s online Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management program.


Council on Foreign Relations: Improving Pandemic Preparedness: Lessons from COVID-19

International Journal of Emergency Medicine: Disaster Management of the Psychological Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

U.S. Census Bureau: Every State Declared Federal Disaster Areas During COVID-19 but Other Natural Disasters Are Happening