Disaster Response Team Leader Job Description [Updated for 2024]

disaster response team leader job description

In times of crisis, the focus on Disaster Response Team Leaders has never been more significant.

As global threats evolve, the demand for proficient leaders capable of managing, mobilizing, and safeguarding our disaster response efforts increases.

But let’s delve deeper: What’s really expected from a Disaster Response Team Leader?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to understand the core of this role,
  • A hiring manager outlining the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply fascinated by the dynamics of disaster response,

You’re in the right place.

Today, we present a customizable Disaster Response Team Leader job description template, designed for simple posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right in.

Disaster Response Team Leader Duties and Responsibilities

Disaster Response Team Leaders play a critical role in managing and coordinating emergency response teams during natural disasters or crisis situations.

They are responsible for planning, executing, and evaluating disaster response strategies to ensure the safety and well-being of affected communities.

Their duties and responsibilities include:

  • Develop and implement emergency response plans and protocols
  • Coordinate with various stakeholders such as local authorities, humanitarian agencies, and community leaders during disaster response
  • Train team members on disaster response procedures and ensure that they are well-equipped to handle crisis situations
  • Direct and supervise disaster response operations, including search and rescue missions, evacuation procedures, and relief distribution
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of disaster response plans and make necessary adjustments
  • Ensure the mental and physical well-being of team members during high-stress operations
  • Communicate effectively with the media and the public, providing clear and accurate information about the situation and the response efforts
  • Maintain records of disaster response activities and generate reports for stakeholders
  • Identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them
  • Participate in post-disaster debriefings and evaluations to improve future response efforts


Disaster Response Team Leader Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are seeking a skilled and dedicated Disaster Response Team Leader to direct our disaster response efforts.

The Disaster Response Team Leader will be responsible for coordinating our team’s response to emergencies and natural disasters, ensuring safety, mitigating damage, and providing relief to affected populations.

The ideal candidate has experience in crisis management, excellent communication skills, and the ability to make critical decisions under pressure.

An understanding of emergency management principles and practices, as well as relevant local, state, and federal disaster response regulations, is essential.



  • Coordinate and lead the disaster response team during emergencies and natural disasters
  • Develop and implement disaster response strategies and protocols
  • Conduct risk assessments and prepare detailed action plans
  • Ensure team members are adequately trained and equipped
  • Work closely with local, state, and federal emergency management agencies
  • Communicate effectively with various stakeholders including local authorities, aid organizations, and the public
  • Prepare post-disaster reports and recommend improvements to disaster response plans
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant laws, regulations, and policies



  • Proven experience in disaster response or emergency management
  • Strong leadership and team management skills
  • Ability to make critical decisions under pressure
  • Understanding of relevant local, state, and federal laws and regulations
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Physical fitness and ability to handle stressful situations
  • First aid and CPR certification is preferred
  • Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management or related field is preferred



  • Health, dental and vision insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Training and development opportunities
  • Life insurance
  • Employee assistance program


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Disaster Response Team Leader
  • Work Environment: This role may require working in high-stress and potentially hazardous conditions. Travel may be required.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Emergency Management Director.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: Pay varies based on experience and qualifications.
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does a Disaster Response Team Leader Do?

A Disaster Response Team Leader typically works for government agencies, non-profit organizations, or private companies specializing in disaster management and response.

They are responsible for coordinating and overseeing the response to natural disasters, technological hazards, or other emergency situations.

This involves assessing the severity of situations, devising strategic plans for response, and managing resources and personnel.

Their job also includes liaising with relevant authorities, local communities, and other stakeholders, to provide timely updates and ensure a coordinated response.

They must also oversee the establishment and maintenance of disaster response infrastructure such as relief centers, evacuation routes, and communication systems.

They are also tasked with training and preparing the disaster response team for various potential scenarios.

This involves conducting drills, evaluating performance, and providing necessary feedback.

Post-disaster, they are responsible for the evaluation of the response, identification of areas of improvement, and implementation of changes in preparation for future disasters.

They may also be involved in recovery efforts, assisting affected individuals and communities in returning to normalcy.

Their ultimate goal is to minimize the impact of disasters on people, property, and the environment.

This requires strong leadership, decision-making abilities, and a deep understanding of disaster management principles.


Disaster Response Team Leader Qualifications and Skills

A Disaster Response Team Leader should possess a range of technical abilities, leadership skills, and crisis management knowledge, including:

  • Experience in disaster response or emergency management field, understanding the protocols and procedures of crisis management.
  • Leadership skills to manage, guide, and motivate a team of responders during high-stress situations.
  • Strong decision-making skills to make quick, accurate, and effective decisions in emergency situations.
  • Excellent communication skills to effectively liaise with team members, other emergency services, and affected individuals or communities.
  • Physical stamina and resilience to withstand challenging conditions, including adverse weather, rough terrains, and long working hours.
  • Ability to stay calm and composed under pressure, managing stress and anxiety in a way that doesn’t impact team morale or operational efficiency.
  • Problem-solving skills to assess situations quickly and develop and implement effective response strategies.
  • Certifications or training in first aid, safety procedures, and disaster management techniques.
  • Technical skills to use a variety of specialized equipment, tools, and software used in disaster response.


Disaster Response Team Leader Experience Requirements

Disaster Response Team Leader candidates typically require a minimum of 3 to 5 years of experience in emergency management or related fields.

This experience could be obtained through roles such as Emergency Planner, Disaster Recovery Analyst, or Crisis Response Specialist.

Candidates should have experience in executing successful response operations during emergency scenarios, which includes planning, implementing, and overseeing the activities of a disaster response team.

This experience often requires hands-on experience with disaster management software and technologies.

It’s also essential that candidates possess demonstrable leadership skills, as they will be responsible for leading and managing a team under high-pressure, often life-threatening situations.

Prior leadership roles in disaster response or similar fields can provide this experience.

Those with more than 5 years of experience may have advanced skills in strategic planning, policy development, and interagency coordination in the context of disaster management.

They may have led larger teams or more complex disaster response operations, making them suitable for senior leadership roles.

Certifications such as Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) or Certified Disaster Recovery Planner (CDRP) could also be part of the experience requirements, providing proof of professional competence in the disaster management field.


Disaster Response Team Leader Education and Training Requirements

Disaster Response Team Leaders typically have a bachelor’s degree in emergency management, public safety, or a related field.

These programs cover various aspects of disaster response such as emergency planning, risk assessment, incident command, and recovery strategies.

Certain roles may require a master’s degree in emergency and disaster management or public administration.

In addition to formal education, Disaster Response Team Leaders also need to have significant experience, often several years, in disaster response or a related field.

They should be well-versed in disaster response and recovery protocols, and able to effectively manage teams and coordinate with local, state, and federal agencies.

The completion of specific training programs, such as those offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), can be beneficial.

Furthermore, obtaining relevant certifications, like the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) or the Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), can indicate a candidate’s expertise and dedication to the field.

The ability to make critical decisions under high-stress conditions, strong communication, and leadership skills are also essential for the role.


Disaster Response Team Leader Salary Expectations

A Disaster Response Team Leader can expect to earn an average salary of $70,500 (USD) per year.

However, the exact earnings can vary based on factors such as the individual’s level of experience, the size and scope of the disaster response operation, the resources of the employing organization, and the geographical location.


Disaster Response Team Leader Job Description FAQs

What skills does a Disaster Response Team Leader need?

A Disaster Response Team Leader should have strong leadership and decision-making skills, as they are responsible for leading a team during high-stress situations.

They should have excellent communication skills to liaise with different teams, agencies, and the community.

They also require problem-solving abilities, quick thinking, and the ability to remain calm under pressure.

Knowledge of emergency management principles, practices, and procedures is also vital.


Do Disaster Response Team Leaders need specific qualifications?

Yes, Disaster Response Team Leaders typically require a degree in emergency management, public safety, or a related field.

They also need several years of experience in disaster response or emergency management.

Certifications in disaster management, emergency response, or related fields can also be beneficial.


What should you look for in a Disaster Response Team Leader resume?

A Disaster Response Team Leader’s resume should indicate their experience in disaster response, emergency management, or public safety.

Look for degrees or certifications in these fields.

Evidence of strong leadership skills, such as past roles leading teams, is also crucial.

Additionally, the resume should highlight their ability to work under pressure and make quick decisions during crisis situations.


What qualities make a good Disaster Response Team Leader?

A good Disaster Response Team Leader should be a strong leader who can command a team during stressful situations.

They should be calm under pressure, have excellent problem-solving skills, and be able to make quick, informed decisions.

Good communication skills are also essential, as they need to coordinate with various teams and agencies.

Empathy is also crucial, as they often interact with people who are in distress.


Is it difficult to hire a Disaster Response Team Leader?

Hiring a Disaster Response Team Leader can be challenging due to the specific set of skills and experience required for the role.

It requires candidates with a unique blend of leadership, problem-solving, and emotional resilience, combined with technical knowledge in disaster response and emergency management.

Therefore, it may take some time to find the right candidate for the role.



So there you have it.

Today, we’ve illuminated the critical role and responsibilities of a Disaster Response Team Leader.

And guess what?

It’s not just about mitigating hazards.

It’s about orchestrating safe, swift, and effective response plans, one emergency at a time.

With our go-to Disaster Response Team Leader job description template and real-world examples, you’re all prepared to take the next step.

But why stop there?

Dive deeper with our job description generator. It’s your next step to crafting detailed, spot-on listings or enhancing your resume to perfection.


Every response plan is a part of the bigger picture.

Let’s create a safer future. Together.

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