How Can Firefighters Benefit From Emergency Management Education?

Firefighter in a Burning Building
Firefighter in a Burning Building

In a western, industrialized nation such as Canada, most Canadian fire departments have access to modern equipment and trained crews. Well-enforced building codes take into account strategies for limiting fire risk in cities and towns, and relatively few settlements in Canada are not set up to combat fires. And yet, we are a country of forests only sparsely interrupted by communities: as the example of the devastating Fort McMurray wildfire demonstrates, nowhere is truly insulated from danger. Fighting fire in Canada in the climate change era requires thinking bigger. That is one of the reasons causing veteran firefighters to turn to programs such as Laurier’s online Graduate Diploma in Emergency Management Education.

Can emergency management education help firefighters on the job?
Did you know you can learn practical knowledge in emergency management education and apply it to the field immediately?
Everybody has a question. Are you curious about how Wilfrid Laurier University can help you benefit your community? Get in touch with us today so we can answer your questions!

What Is Emergency Management?

The graduate diploma curriculum, like all of the Public Safety programs at Laurier, was developed in concert with experts in the field. Public safety as a profession includes a wide purview of subjects related to the country’s domestic security, with a mandate which includes border security; countering crime; national security; and emergency management.

Emergency management responsibilities can be broken down into the following broad categories:

  • Prevention and Mitigation
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Responding to Emergency Events
  • Recovery from Disasters

Meeting these responsibilities involves a myriad of federal, provincial and local agencies coordinating their activities. Leaders in this field provide policy and guidance to first responders like firefighters.

What Do You Learn in Emergency Management Education?

The emphasis in this type of education is to provide practical knowledge which can be immediately applied in the field, as well as higher-level strategic concepts that help prepare front-line workers to meet the challenges of a management or command role. It might be easiest to think of online emergency management as an augmentation of the basic training every Ontario firefighter receives.

Just as a veteran first-class firefighter has learned to recognize the vulnerabilities of any given building, and internalized the best procedures for evacuation and fire suppression, so a district chief has learned the vulnerabilities of the area they command and has learned strategies for effective resource dispersal. Emergency management education prepares lower-ranking firefighters to see the complexities of fire protection at a higher level.

In Laurier’s course, students take the following classes:

  • SAFE600: Public Safety in Canada (0.5 credits)
  • SAFE601: Issues in Contemporary Public Safety (0.5 credits)
  • SAFE612: Interagency Disaster Management (0.5 credits)
  • SAFE613: Emergency Management Planning (0.5 credits)

Taken together, these courses provide a deep overview of present challenges; an understanding of how different organizations respond to crises; and the latest strategies for keeping Canadians safer, all with a practical focus. These are lessons which can be immediately applied to a job.

Why Take an Online Emergency Management Education Course in Ontario?

People enrolling at Laurier are experienced public safety professionals, often with over a decade of relevant experience before entering the (online) classroom. While their reasons for doing so are varied, most are looking to upgrade their knowledge as they seek a promotion or a more senior position in a public safety-related field. Many are also drawn to the option of applying their Emergency Management Graduate Diploma towards the requirements for a Master of Public Safety, which brings together emergency management with other aspects relevant to public safety work and serves as a direct route towards work in government.

With broader knowledge and a respected new credential, emergency management education gets firefighters ready to climb the ladder to greater responsibility and better pay.


Contact us to find out more about the online Graduate Diploma in Emergency Management Education.

Check out our earlier blogs on What is Public Safety Management and Can Surveillance Increase Public Safety?