This is a guest post by Monica Cryan, OEM Public Affairs Fellow Fall 2016.

Philadelphia has many amazing agencies hard at work to ensure the public’s safety. Everyone is familiar with Philadelphia’s finest: the Philadelphia Police Department and the Fire Department. However, some may not be aware of Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM). We are a little more behind the scenes of Philadelphia’s safety. In addition to responding to emergencies, OEM really focuses on planning and preparing the city for any potential hazards.

Don’t be surprised if you are not as familiar with the Office of Emergency Management or the expanding field of Disaster Mitigation. I wasn’t familiar with it either until I started my career as a broadcast meteorologist a few years ago. There, I was introduced to local emergency managers when we worked together during storms. I would talk with emergency management officials about forecast timing and impacts so they could prepare resources. I became interested in emergency management policy and procedure and decided to enroll in a Masters program.

I grew up outside of Philadelphia and love this city. When I learned of a fellowship program (pdf) offered by the Office of Emergency Management, I jumped at the opportunity. As a Public Affairs Fellow, I am able to combine my background in broadcasting and new education in emergency management. During my time, I was able to see the activation of the Emergency Operation Center (EOC), the central command post to carry out all disaster management function during an emergency. It’s not something the city wants to happen often, but I was excited to see it in action.

OEM works hard to reduce the city’s risk to potential hazards.  That was really the theme I saw throughout the fellowship. Like the Police and Fire Department, OEM doesn’t want to be busy. But when the time comes, we are ReadyPhiladelphia!

Monica is a proud Penn State trained meteorologist with broadcast meteorology experience – most recently with Fox29. She is currently pursuing a masters degree at American  Military University in Public Administration with a focus in Disaster Management. Follow her on twitter @MonicaWeather and watch for her on Fox29! 

The OEM Fellowship Program is currently accepting applications through December 13, 2016 for the spring semester.