Helms School of Government


Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)


Shannon McAteer


Emergency Management, Disaster, Curriculum, Certification


Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenology qualitative inquiry was to understand the efficacy of the Basic Georgia Certified Emergency Manager Program curriculum on preparing local emergency managers in each of Georgia’s eight geographical regions for their role. Emergency managers are professionals tasked with helping communities and organizations to anticipate all hazards and undertake measures to deal with disasters (McEntire 200 7). Demands placed on local emergency managers have increased significantly since the turn of the century. Between 2002 and 2020, the number and frequency of disasters have dramatically increased, and Georgia's social and economic demographics have undergone significant changes, presenting new challenges for local emergency managers (Rubin and Cutter 2020, 2; United States Census; NOAA 2021). Moreover, contemporary research has identified training and core competencies needed for emergency managers to be successful (Peerbolte 2010; Comfort 2005; Blanchard 2005; Kiltz 2009). Through training and experience, emergency managers must be proficient at the tasks required to lead the community through disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery (Padilla 2015, 29). The research question was: How prepared do emergency managers feel they are for their role as a local emergency manager following their completion of the Georgia Certified Emergency Manager Program curriculum? Using hermeneutic methods, the lived experiences of study participants revealed the current Georgia Certified Emergency Manager Program curriculum failed to prepare local emergency managers for their role.