Access to Universal Emergency Management Software Provided Free-of-Charge to Every County Statewide to Strengthen Disaster Preparedness and Response
$50 Million in Additional Emergency Equipment to be Secured in Advance of Winter Storm Season
Governor’s Emergency Planning Summit Held Today in Albany, Attended by Hundreds of Disaster Management Officials and Local Leaders from Across the State
Governor Cuomo announced the creation of “NY Responds” – a comprehensive new approach for coordinating and strengthening the State’s emergency preparedness. As part of NY Responds, for the first time ever, every county in New York State will have access to universal emergency management software. This software – provided at no cost to localities – will enable both local governments and state agencies to submit and share vital disaster-related information, ranging from incident reports and resource requests to real-time tracking of assets and weather conditions.
Additionally, Governor Cuomo announced the state is supplementing its stockpile of emergency response resources with an additional $50 million worth of equipment in advance of the winter storm season. This will include 130 SWAT plow trucks, 62 tow blowers, 16 snow plows, 16 loaders, 11 graders, 10 medium dump trucks with plows, eight truck blowers, and two high axel vehicles.These announcements correspond with the Governor’s Emergency Planning Summit, held today at the State’s Emergency Management and Training Academy in Albany.
“When disaster strikes, we must be able to respond quickly and effectively in order to keep New Yorkers safe, and that is what today is all about,” said Governor Cuomo. “Through NY Responds, every county in this state will have access to first-class emergency management technology, which will help both local and state officials stay as informed and coordinated as possible when responding to difficult situations. This is part of how we are building this state to be stronger and smarter than ever before.”
John P. Melville, Commissioner of the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, said, “It is imperative that there is seamless coordination between state and local governments during a disaster. NY Responds will be an essential tool for emergency managers and elected officials to work with the state and other local governments to streamline response and recovery during a large-scale event.”
NY Responds will anchor New York’s emergency planning and response mechanisms with unprecedented levels of coordination between state agencies and local governments. The core components of NY Responds include:
Universal Statewide Emergency Management Software – For the first time in state history, every county in New York State will have access to the same emergency management technology to provide and receive updates on local disasters. Local governments will now have one system for entering detailed incident specific information and local resource requests; monitoring request prioritization, status and decisions; and accessing a common operating snapshot that shows other relevant incidents in the region.
This universal software package being made available to counties includes Mutualink, a new technology solution that integrates telephone, radio, video and file sharing into one, interoperable application. This enables local emergency staff to share seamless, real-time information with the state and other counties.
Currently, counties throughout New York State utilize a variety of competing software systems – or have no emergency management software whatsoever. This new, universal technological infrastructure will significantly enhance the ability of local and state officials to respond quickly and accurately to disaster incidents, prioritize and reallocate resources as needed, and ultimately monitor the progression of a disaster from beginning to demobilization. Access to the new system, as well as the required training, is being provided to each county free-of-charge by the state.
Incident and Asset Tracking – This universal software will be aided by state of the art mapping and location technology, which enables faster development of a common operating picture. The enhanced system allows for access to more than 100 data layers, such as power outages, traffic cameras, and status reports on critical infrastructure.
Additionally, the state has installed global positioning units in approximately 1,840 vehicles operated by DHSES, the State Department of Transportation and the State Thruway Authority. This allows the state to remotely track the location and status of critical emergency response assets such as plows, dump trucks and utility vehicles in real time. The state has also installed GPS units on crucial stockpile items such as generators, light towers and sandbaggers. Positioning units are also set to be installed in approximately 1,400 other DOT vehicles.
Weather Forecasting – The statewide emergency management software will also be complemented by real-time weather forecasting and modeling through the New York State Early Warning Weather Detection System (Mesonet). When completed, the 125 Mesonet sites around the state will feed real-time data to the National Weather Service and enhance the emergency management response of both state and local governments during severe weather events. More information about the Mesonet system is available here and at nysmesonet.org.
The rollout of NY Responds to all counties is estimated to cost $1.5 million with additional annual maintenance costs of $406,000.
NYS Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Forward Operations Plan
Also announced at today’s summit is the new New York State Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Forward Operations Plan, which establishes clear lines of communication between the state Emergency Operations Center in Albany and local elected officials. The new protocols drive the way the State uses its systems and technology and the manner in which local governments tap State resources. Revisions will be made to the current Emergency Management Certification and Training program to support the goal of better coordination and communication with local partners and ensure a uniform and cohesive approach to emergency management.
About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
DHSES and its four offices – Emergency Management, Fire Prevention and Control, and Interoperable and Emergency Communications, and Counter Terrorism – provide 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.