Rescue and emergency response was always a benevolent engagement. This was so even in the most peaceful and disaster-free times. These days, however, with war raging on in Europe, a global pandemic, climate change floods and temperature fluctuations, almost regular wildfires this profession is becoming much more needed, respected and necessary. Gone are the days when people depended only on the Police and Fire departments to ensure adequate protection. Today almost every enterprise needs to have a perfectly qualified emergency response officer.
If you are inspired by helping people (and animals) and think it is a good idea to be better prepared for emergencies, then you may consider a career as an Emergency Service Officer (ESO).
What Does An ESO Do?
Respective to the worksite the job of an ESO may vary. However, generally, they will be responsible for:
- Emergency and Incident Preparedness – Emergency and incident preparedness through hardware (emergency equipment) and software (evacuation diagrams, processes, rule-books, procedures, instructions);
- Emergency and Incident Response – Emergency and incident response and
- Emergency and Incident Staff Training – Making sure that other people at the worksite are properly trained and equipped to respond in emergency and incident situations.
Tasks Of An ESO
The immediate tasks of an ESO will depend on their worksite, the respective industry of the enterprise, the volume of employees and of course – the qualification of the ESO.
The standard tasks of the ESO may be, but are not limited to, the following:
- Security and safety audits and assessments;
The ESO will do an initial (upon joining the site) and then ongoing reoccurring security and safety audits. The aim is to check the preparedness of the site for any type of incidents or emergencies. The audit will be finalised with an assessment and suggestions for action to be taken (this is in the event that some flaws were noticed).
- Drafting emergency-response policies and procedures;
These are important to let everyone on the site know how to act in case of an emergency.
- Training employees on-site in emergency and incident response;
Employees don’t just need procedures but need some training too. Emergency drills on site will provide invaluable preparedness in real emergency situations.
- Coordinating and interacting with emergency service providers prior to and during an emergency;
Normally enterprises will interact with many emergency service providers. These will range from specialised support and training companies to municipal structures such as the Fire Department. The ESO will be the single point of contact for all of these.
- Procuring, monitoring and maintaining emergency equipment on site;
Safety and preparedness will necessitate certain equipment (consider fire extinguishers). The ESO will be the person to find, procure, install, monitor and maintain all emergency equipment on the site.
- Responding to emergencies and incidents on the site;
Although down the line in our list of tasks, this is probably the most important responsibility of the ESO. When there is an incident or emergency he is the one to react and prevent escalation. The ESO is the one to keep his cool and extinguish any risks for the staff and site. Certainly, he may summon the support of external emergency services, as mentioned above.
- First aid administering;
This is still part of the response to incidents and emergencies. The ESO is again in the front line.
- Supporting incident investigations.
Sometimes such investigations are necessary following an incident. The ESO, as the most competent in this sphere, will be the point of contact and support to any such inquiries.
How Do You Become An ESO?
Emergency services are complex and important jobs. As you already know, the ESO is a highly responsible job in place to save lives, assets and the environment. As such ESO experts need to have a wide range of skills and competencies. They need to be experts in fire prevention and fire-fighting. They need to be pros in rescue operations and first aid. They need to be great insecurity. Last but not least, they need to be good trainers and mentors, so that they can transfer their knowledge to the employees at the site.
Certainly, each site will require less from this and more of that. However, as a rule of thumb the ESO will usually need the following qualifications:
- Emergency and Fire Training
- Emergency Response and Rescue – Certificate III
- First Aid Provision
- Breathing Apparatus Operation
- Confined Space Salvage
- HAZMAT Response
- Road Crash Rescue
- Vertical Salvage
- Emergency Response Training, Preparedness and Planning
- Standard 11 Compliant Mining Induction (for the mining industry)
- Training and Assessment Certificate IV.
As anyone considering a career path, it may come to mind to look into the employment perspectives for an ESO. What used to be regarded as a somewhat superficial function in the past, today is an esteemed profession with many people relying on the ESO. A multitude of industries employs an Emergency Service Officer. This will suggest that all enterprises within this industry will need an ESO. Such are (again not exhaustive): Mining, Security, Construction, Power, Energy, Oil and Gas, Defense, Aviation, Manufacturing, Retail.
Not only is the list of industries needing ESOs long, but no one today considers their function as superficial. Actually, ESOs are regarded as important functions quite important to the enterprise, its assets and its employees. This change in perception had started to take shape during random floods and bush fires. Then a boost to its legitimacy came about almost immediately after the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. Later climate change events, incidents and emergencies continued to fuel the ESO need. The war which broke out between Russia and Ukraine in early 2022 gave a new meaning to the word “preparedness”. We may actually see the above list of ESO competencies increase some in the coming months.
Hence the options for employment as ESO are high in 2022. It only seems that they will increase in the future, as sad as this may be for all others from a global perspective.