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Ray Devine: Emergency Planning via the Airwaves

Ray Devine

With over 30 years of experience as a firefighter, Ray Devine ’19 has spent most of this life serving those in need––when it counts the most! After completing Immaculata’s Bachelor of Science degree in emergency planning and management (EPM), Devine has a more comprehensive perspective when planning and dealing with emergencies.

“The classes definitely helped prepare me for what I need to be prepared for in the field,” Devine says. He acknowledges that he gained insight on active shooter scenarios and how to manage emergency situations. “Preparedness is a big deal in emergency planning,” he states emphatically.

He learned to focus on common emergency issues in the immediate area, such as thunderstorms, hurricanes and snowstorms. “We don’t have to prepare for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, mudslides or tornados,” he adds. “Well, maybe once in a blue moon.”

After earning his associate degree in emergency management and planning at Delaware County Community College, Devine was interested in learning more and furthering his education. He talked with a counselor at Immaculata’s College of Adult Professional Studies, but as he admits, “life got in the way.”

However, his counselor continued to check in on Devine, until she convinced him with the inspiration he needed to hear: “Whenever you’re ready, I know you have the ability. I know you can do it,” she told him. With the flexibility of taking his classes online or in the classroom, he was confident that Immaculata’s EPM program was a great fit for him.

It was definitely the right fit. In recognition of his academic achievements, in 2018 Devine was inducted into the Order of the Sword and Shield, a national honor society for professionals in emergency management, homeland security and all protective security disciplines. He is also a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society for students in continuing higher education.

In addition to dedicating his time as a volunteer firefighter, he spent much of his professional career at various corporate radio stations. In 2014, he accepted a position as a field engineer for Broadcast Sciences (a broadcast engineering firm that services many of the radio stations in the Philadelphia area) and is the engineering manager at WRTI Radio at Temple University, a non-profit public FM radio station. Devine’s leadership classes at Immaculata helped prepare him for the different world of academic radio management.

His capstone project was to create a continuity of operations plan for WRTI. “The plan turned out so well, and I was so thorough and comprehensive, that I presented it to the hierarchy at Temple University and they absolutely loved it,” he states with pride.

The crux of the project was how to keep the radio station on the air during an emergency, which is a mandate of the FCC. Radio stations must be able to transmit information in the event of an emergency and relay announcements from local, state and federal officials. The capstone project opened a door for Devine to become involved with Temple’s emergency management team as a building manager for the four-floor building that houses WRTI’s staff and equipment and other offices. Devine’s duty as building manager is to conduct fire drills and to keep workers abreast of how to react to various situations, including active shooters, flooding and even how to handle protesters outside the building.

Leveraging his experience, Devine is also the assistant emergency manager for the Borough of Swarthmore, where he serves as a volunteer firefighter. He acknowledges that he has been able to help them build a comprehensive emergency management plan.

Because Devine truly loves helping others, he offers his professional expertise, pro bono, to a seminary in Germantown where he is guiding them through the process of putting together an emergency plan and providing training on how to shelter-in-place and prepare for other crisis situations. One of the most important aspects of his job is pushing people to be prepared. “We get complacent…nothing’s happened in 50 years,” he says.

Devine recognizes that he is enjoying the best of both worlds with his stable radio position and his ancillary duties as an emergency planner. He encourages others who may be contemplating going back to college to figure out how they can utilize education to boost their careers. “Sit down and talk to the folks at Immaculata University, visit the beautiful campus. They will help you reach your goals.”

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