To become accredited, a locality must meet standards and best practices which promote a coordinated and integrated approach to emergency management.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management achieved accreditation through New York's Local Emergency Management Accreditation Program. Nassau County is the 12th emergency management organization to achieve accreditation, joining Albany, Broome, Erie, Livingston, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Saratoga, Washington, and Wayne counties, as well as New York City.
"No matter how big a disaster may end up being, all emergencies begin with the local response, and this accreditation program ensures our responders have the tools they need to protect the public," Governor Cuomo said. "Having a response strategy before disaster strikes is half the battle when it comes to public safety. I commend Nassau County for its achievement and encourage others to follow suit so we can continue to build on the success of this important program."
Proposed by Governor Cuomo during the 2017 State of the State the program is the nation's first accreditation at the state level for local emergency management agencies. Developed in partnership with the New York State Emergency Management Association, the accreditation program highlights and promotes local emergency management agencies in New York State.
To become accredited, a locality must meet a series of standards and best practices which promote a coordinated and integrated approach to emergency management. Localities must also engage "whole community" stakeholders, including government and private partners, and consider those who may require specific attention during an emergency or disaster such as the homeless, the elderly, or disabled individuals.
The 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. Accreditation is valid for five years, with an opportunity to obtain reaccreditation after the five-year period.
Patrick A. Murphy, Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services said, "How New York State responds to large-scale emergencies and disasters is studied and replicated around the world, and a big part of the reason why is because of strong partnerships between the State and local governments. As we have seen with the State's response to severe storms such as Sandy and Isaias, the stronger the partnership between State and local government, the more effective the response and recovery. I commend Nassau County Office of Emergency Management on achieving accreditation, and I look forward to working with other counties as we continue to bolster our emergency preparedness posture across the State."
The Nassau County Office of Emergency Management is responsible for coordinating with local, state, federal and private sector partners to maintain a high level of preparedness, to protect the citizens of Nassau County, to mitigate the loss of life and property and to facilitate the speedy recovery following a disaster. Nassau County OEM supports more than 70 different special districts and jurisdictions, encompassing three towns and two cities on Long Island. The office actively works with Suffolk County, Westchester County and New York City to ensure a collaborative approach to emergency management at the local level.
Nassau County OEM operates the county's Emergency Operations Center, manages a Community Emergency Response Team, and maintains facilities to help support incident response and ensure continuity of government. The Nassau County EOC is a central hub for county department and first responder organizations to work together in response to an incident, disaster, or in preparation for a large-scale planned event such as the Long Island Marathon, July 4th celebrations, the Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze at Old Bethpage Restoration Village, and other events.
New York State Emergency Management Association President and Cattaraugus County Emergency Management Director Chris Baker said, "COVID 19 has once again highlighted the importance of having an effective emergency management program, and I am happy to see more counties achieving accreditation and proud of the strong partnership with DHSES on this program."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, "This accreditation reflects the tireless efforts and dedication of the vigilant men and women who staff the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management around the clock. Throughout every disaster, OEM has been a vital, lifesaving resource for our residents and businesses. I thank all of our dedicated responders and staff who help guide our County through its darkest hours."
Nassau County Commissioner Steven Morelli said, "The Nassau County Office of Emergency Management takes pride in attaining this accreditation and we thank those that worked so diligently on this task. Our office stands in support and strives for resiliency for the nearly 1.4 million residents that call Nassau County their home. Together, we partner with the Nassau County Police, the Nassau County Fire Marshal and the Nassau County Department of Health to provide continuous services to those experiencing emergencies and disasters. Over the past year, our office has sat at the forefront of the COVID pandemic as the Emergency Operations Center for the County as well as additional numerous activations for storms and planned events. We continue to work with our County Administration as well as in collaboration with nearly 70 different jurisdictions towards making Nassau County the safest place to raise a family."
Local emergency management offices interested in obtaining accreditation should compile and develop policies, plans, and documents necessary to meet accreditation standards. Required documentation will be shared or uploaded to the NY Responds web portal and materials will be reviewed in advance of the onsite review. The 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 requested materials are 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 further examination of any necessary plans and documentation, and interviews with emergency managers, staff, and others, if necessary. It is incumbent on the emergency management office to demonstrate, document, and articulate how each of the standards and associated criteria are met. 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 at EMaccreditation@dhses.ny.gov
Additional information about the New York State Local Emergency Management Accreditation Program - including program guidance, eligibility, and standards - can be found here