Case study

Dealing with emergencies for the British Red Cross

Rhea Sutton is putting the skills she learned in our MSc Intelligence, Security and Disaster Management degree directly into practice. She is an Emergency Response Officer for the British Red Cross in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Working for the British Red Cross

After completing her undergraduate course at Derby in Environmental Hazards and Geography, Rhea knew she wanted to work in the Emergency Response field. She says: “When I decided to study a master's, I couldn’t imagine moving to a different university. The disaster management course would allow me to further my knowledge into the field I wanted to work in.”

Rhea now works as an Emergency Response Officer for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire for the British Red Cross, line managing 40 emergency response volunteers across the two counties. She works closely with other organisations such as Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue. The Emergency Response Service in the British Red Cross responds to disasters such as fires, floods, power outages, and evacuations, as well as anti-human trafficking events.

Graduate, Rhea Sutton, standing in front of a volcanic range.

Putting theory into practice

Rhea credits the experience and support she received on her course in helping her to prepare for a role in this field. She says: “The core module on my masters, Introducing Risk and Managing Disasters, prepped me with lots of knowledge that surrounds the role I am in now - including information on the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) and humanitarian assistance. Also being able to choose from the optional modules to focus on the areas I was most interested in helped a lot as I could focus on responding to natural disasters."

"Going into an interview and already having the knowledge about LRF meetings, risk assessments and humanitarian assistance I really think boosted me in the eyes of the interviewers. In my current role, I now sit on multiple LRF groups in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.”

Rhea’s ambition is to work her way up to respond and deploy to worldwide national disasters.

Giving back

Rhea knew that the University of Derby was the right fit for her when she visited us for an Open Day.

“I remember when applying for universities, everyone spoke about the feeling you would get about the university being your perfect fit. I didn’t believe it until I pulled onto the driveway up to the Kedleston Road campus for an Open Day and my entire body relaxed and went ‘Yes, this is it’ while just looking at the building.”

And she recently returned to the University to share her expertise with current MSc Intelligence, Security and Disaster Management students and speak about her work with the British Red Cross. 

Graduate Rhea Sutton presenting to a room of current students
Rhea talking to current students

Rhea says: “If you want to expand your knowledge on emergency planning, response and recovery, this course opens so many doors into different fields within the disaster management umbrella."