Surriya Subramaniam

Hi, my name is Surriya.

It wasn’t until I worked on the London 2012 Olympics that I understood the importance of Emergency Planning. I was part of a project team that closed 1000 roads for cycling events. This meant that ambulances and fire engines had to think carefully about how to get to emergencies.  This experience encouraged me to think about a career in Emergency Planning.

I then became Head of Emergency Planning at Wiltshire Council where we worked a lot with the emergency services and the military to keep everyone safe during floods, fires and outbreaks of disease. I spent some years working for a retailer across Europe, improving their ability to deal with emergencies. Then I did the same at an international airport. Now I work for the NHS for a lovely group of people, which makes such a difference when you spend so much time at work.

There were some barriers to getting into this role.  Emergency Planning is a second career, so it took time to get managers to look beyond qualifications and see the wider skills I bring. As you can see from the places I have worked, everyone needs to plan for emergencies. The job can take you anywhere.

Working in Emergency Planning has improved. There was a time when it was full of retired men from the emergency services. I’m glad that employers are now realising that there is a wider pool to choose from.

I would recommend working in Emergency Planning.  Our job is exciting because you need to use your imagination to work out:

  • what could go wrong?
  • what are we going to do when it goes wrong?
  • how will you practice? so when it goes wrong people know what to do.

And something you don’t know about me?  The most famous person who follows me on Twitter is…. Barack Obama!!