Initiative Strengthens Disaster Response and Recovery in New York State
Governor Cuomo announced the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Office of Emergency Management has completed the Phase One rollout of NY Responds, the State's new approach to disaster response and recovery. With the completion of Phase One, county emergency management agencies can now connect with the New York State Emergency Operations Center in Albany to improve coordination and cooperation during a disaster or emergency.
"NY Responds is transforming and strengthening the way this state responds to disasters and other emergency situations,” Governor Cuomo said. "This new approach is key in executing a coordinated response which helps communities stay better informed when an emergency situation occurs and recover more quickly."
The enhanced incident management system, 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 reporting and resource requests to real-time tracking of assets and weather conditions. The new system has already been successfully utilized in Herkimer and Seneca Counties for recent incidents that have occurred since its implementation.
Additionally as part of NY Responds, the Division continues to train and provide state agencies and counties access to Mutualink, a new technology solution that integrates telephone, radio, video and file sharing into one, interoperable application. This system enables local emergency staff to share seamless, real-time information with the state and other counties. The rollout and integration of Mutualink into the NY Responds common operating picture will begin in 2016.
During Phase Two, the Division will make additional upgrades to the incident management system adding improved geographic information systems, weather forecasting and modeling, additional Mutualink features, asset and inventory management, and notifications and alerting. Phase Two is expected to start in 2016.
New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner John P. Melville said, "NY Responds supports the Governor's vision of building a world-class emergency management and response network. Once fully implemented within all counties, NY Responds will give emergency managers and elected officials a better way to work with the state and with other local governments during a crisis."
New York State Emergency Managers Association President and Livingston County Office of Emergency Management Director Kevin Niedermaier said, "New York Responds provides the local emergency manager with a tool that will enhance their situational awareness not only at the local level but at the state level as well. Right tool at the right time."
Herkimer County Office of Emergency Services Director Robert Vandawalker said, "Herkimer County Emergency Services had the opportunity to make use of the recently activated NY Responds System. Our office generated a report through NY Responds that was immediately acknowledged and processed by the New York State Office of Emergency Management, which streamlined the flow of information. We feel that the NY Responds system is a major step towards improving emergency management and response in New York State."
Seneca County Emergency Management Director Melissa Taylor said, "The Seneca County Emergency Management Department recently used NY Responds to request NYSDOH staff and Hepatitis A vaccine in support of mass vaccination clinics. NY Responds is a wonderful tool that acts as a one stop shop for coordinating emergency response. The software is easy to use in a pinch and highly effective at getting requests handled promptly and efficiently."
New York State Emergency Managers Association Regional Vice President and Rensselaer County Bureau of Public Safety Director Kelly Paslow said, "The emergency management community is pleased to see the Governor and NYSOEM take this step. It will set a standard tool that will enable all of us access to the State's Emergency Operations Center and provide real-time situational awareness through an Internet based program with no cost to county governments. It allows emergency managers to obtain important information during an event and allows each requesting county to track their requests for State assets."
About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services 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.