Promotion or transition: From fire officer to emergency manager


  • Ray H. Chang, PhD
  • Dave Neal, PhD



fire officers, emergency managers, professions of emergency management


The field of emergency management has put much focus on disaster response activities. By overly emphasizing response, some people have come to regard fire officers as ideal candidates for promotion into emergency manager positions. To understand this process, we first review the basic definitions of emergency management. Next, drawing upon these definitions, we identify differences between fire officers’ and emergency managers’ tasks. Based on the analysis, we found that the task differences were large enough to distinguish emergency managers as a profession separate and distinct from that of the fire officer. Finally, we conclude with suggestions on how fire officers can enhance or expand their job skills to change effectively their career paths to emergency management.

Author Biographies

Ray H. Chang, PhD

Department of Political Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma

Dave Neal, PhD

Department of Political Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma


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How to Cite

Chang, PhD, R. H., and D. Neal, PhD. “Promotion or Transition: From Fire Officer to Emergency Manager”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 17, no. 2, Mar. 2019, pp. 101-10, doi:10.5055/jem.2019.0402.