A new report out of Canada finds that civil engineers tend to be less knowledgeable than other employees, and they’re less likely to be trained to respond to disasters.
“Civil engineers have a tendency to be more focused on short-term outcomes than long-term ones,” the authors of the study, conducted by the University of British Columbia, wrote in a press release.
“We found that the likelihood of civil engineers being trained in disaster response skills is significantly lower than the general population.”
This is what a civil engineer looks like.
(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)The report comes amid a growing trend of employers replacing civil engineers with computer-driven systems.
Some companies are even starting to train employees on how to handle natural disasters.
It’s not a bad idea, but it’s a little worrisome.
In a 2014 study, researchers at the University oncology department at the Medical College of Wisconsin showed that while some departments trained employees in how to recognize and respond to lung cancer, the majority of departments did not.
This lack of training is especially problematic because civil engineers are key members of the civil engineering workforce.
According to the Canadian Civil Engineers Association, they have a primary role in providing disaster response, and the majority report that they work in disaster preparedness.
“We are the lifeblood of disaster response and recovery, and we are trained in all areas of disaster prepareditude, emergency management, fire and emergency management and are critical in our capacity to provide disaster relief,” said John L. Anderson, the association’s executive director.
“Our experience and expertise in disaster management are critical to the success of the nation’s disaster response system.
We work tirelessly to help ensure the safety and welfare of our citizens.”
The report is a little troubling, and it’s not just because civil engineering is an area of expertise that is scarce.
It also raises questions about how well civil engineers have prepared for disasters before they happen.
In addition to their role as disaster responders, civil engineers also handle public safety issues, such as enforcing laws and responding to disasters, and often have a great deal of expertise in that area.
In other words, a lot of civil engineering expertise is also being put to use right now.
“There are a lot more civil engineers in the United States than there are people who are trained to deal with disasters,” said Anderson.