Ten New York Emergency Management Organizations Have Now Achieved First-of-Its Kind State-Level Accreditation
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Erie and Wayne Counties have achieved accreditation as part of the Local Emergency Management Accreditation Program. First proposed in the Governor's 2017 State of the State, the accreditation program is the first state-level program for local emergency management agencies in the nation. With this achievement, the Erie County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and the Wayne County Emergency Management Office join the emergency management offices of New York City and Albany, Broome, Livingston, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida and Saratoga Counties as accredited organizations.
"Public safety is our number one priority and it's critical that we have strong emergency management services at the county level who can partner with the state during challenging situations," Governor Cuomo said. "This first of its kind accreditation program will help ensure local emergency management offices can respond to any disaster and protect their residents."
The program, developed in partnership with the New York State Emergency Management Association, includes a series of standards local emergency management offices must meet to obtain this professional accreditation. The State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services administers the program on behalf of the Local Emergency Management Accreditation Council, which serves as the governing body for the program.
The accreditation program is intended as a mechanism to help highlight and promote proactive local emergency management agencies in New York State. Accreditation is valid for five years, with an opportunity to obtain reaccreditation after the five-year period.
New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy said, "When disaster strikes, it's critical state and local emergency management teams are able to work together to protect New Yorkers and this accreditation program helps ensure everyone is working under the same basic standards. During our evaluation, both Erie and Wayne Counties not only did a great job in meeting the standards, but also in demonstrating their level of readiness to respond to any emergency. I congratulate them on this achievement and encourage the rest of New York's counties to pursue this accreditation as well."
New York State Emergency Management Association President and Cattaraugus County Emergency Management Director Chris Baker said, "The Local Emergency Management Accreditation Program is an excellent example of the strong partnership between DHSES and NYSEMA, and it is great to see county emergency management agencies pursuing accreditation."
The Erie County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is comprised of the Divisions of Disaster Preparedness/Homeland Security, Fire Safety, and Emergency Medical Services. The Department is responsible for providing public safety through comprehensive emergency management planning, preparedness, training, response, and coordination of emergency services resources in Erie County during actual or potential disaster events.
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, "The Erie County emergency management team is always planning and preparing for the next time an emergency strikes, and receiving this accreditation is an affirmation of the team's focus on improvement to better serve the public. We are proud to join Wayne and seven other counties statewide with this accreditation and I thank our Emergency Services/DHS Commissioner Dan Neaverth, Jr. and his staff for their hard work on behalf of the people of Erie County."
Commissioner of the Erie County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Daniel Neaverth said, "We found the detailed review of agency policies and procedures to be extremely helpful. The accreditation process allows emergency management agencies the take whatever corrective actions are needed to adapt and adjust in today's challenging environment. As a County we are better prepared because of this critical review."
The Wayne County Emergency Management Office coordinates emergency mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery services to the residents of Wayne County with the appropriate Wayne County agencies and external partners. This typically occurs in the county's Emergency Operations Center and efforts are guided by the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, which is reviewed annually. Through outreach, the Emergency Management Office encourages residents to become more resilient to ensure they are prepared for emergencies. The Emergency Management Office also manages the public alert and warning systems for Wayne County, namely Wayne County Alerts to ensure residents are informed during an emergency.
Director of the Wayne County Emergency Management Office George Bastedo said, "Through the efforts of the entire Wayne County Emergency Management Team, we are proud to be the ninth county in New York State to become a state accredited emergency management office. Accreditation demonstrates our continued commitment to all aspects of emergency management to the citizens and stakeholders in Wayne County. The process of becoming accredited has definitely made us a stronger organization."
Local emergency management offices interested in obtaining this accreditation will need to compile and/or develop the policies, plans and documents necessary to meet accreditation standards. Any required documentation will be shared or uploaded to the NY Responds web portal so materials can be reviewed in advance of the on-site review. Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and New York State Emergency Management Association will provide technical assistance during the preparation phase and once all of the requested materials have been obtained, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services will select a team of at least two experienced assessors to conduct the review.
The review will include the further examination of any necessary plans and documentation, and interviews with the Emergency Manager, staff, and others, if necessary. It will be incumbent on the emergency management office to demonstrate, document, and articulate how they meet each of the standards and associated criteria. Local emergency management offices wishing to receive certification should complete the application form and submit it to the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
Additional information about the New York State Local Emergency Management Accreditation Program - including program guidance, eligibility, and standards - can be found here.
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov.