For Immediate Release
May 23, 2018
STATE DIVISION OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY SERVICES ANNOUNCES MONTGOMERY COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES ACHIEVES STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ACCREDITATION
Montgomery County is the Fifth Emergency Management Organization to Achieve this Distinction in the State-Level Program
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today announced that Montgomery County Emergency Services recently achieved accreditation in New York’s Local Emergency Management Accreditation Program. First proposed in the Governor’s 2017 State of the State, the accreditation program is the first of its kind state-level program for local emergency management agencies in the nation. Montgomery County joins Broome County, New York City, Livingston County and Oneida County as the first five emergency management organizations to achieve this status in the state.
“In partnership with the New York State Emergency Management Association, we are raising the bar and increasing the level of preparedness and professionalism for emergency management agencies across the state,” said Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Roger L. Parrino Sr. “New York State faces a wide variety of natural hazards and man-made threats, so it is critical that we continue to enhance the collective level of readiness, and the accreditation program helps demonstrate counties’ level of preparedness.”
The program, developed in partnership with the New York State Emergency Management Association (NYSEMA), includes a series of standards that 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. Kevin Wisely, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner and Director of the Office of Emergency Management, and Chris Baker, NYSEMA President and Director of the Cattaraugus County Office of Emergency Services, presented Jeffrey T. Smith, Director, Montgomery County Emergency Services, with an accreditation plaque on May 22 at the county’s legislative meeting.
Montgomery County Emergency Services consists of seven part-time employees and volunteers, and has responsibility for the 403-square mile county. Montgomery County has the longest stretch of New York State Thruway, CSX rail tracks and the Mohawk River in the entire state so the team has a lot to monitor daily. Over the years, the County Emergency Services team has helped coordinate response to major floods, train derailments, major fires, a bridge collapse, plane crashes, serious motor vehicle accidents, hurricanes, tornadoes, high wind events and more.
The Emergency Services team also actively engages county residents on emergency preparedness and response topics through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, a free smart phone app, a 211 agreement, a LED sign that shares important safety information, a mass notification system and through many citizen preparedness classes in the county. Recently, Montgomery County Emergency Services collaborated with many county agencies to create a High Threat Incident Plan to ensure coordinated response and management of high threat incidents within the county.
The accreditation program serves 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.
“The accreditation program continues to be a priority for NYSEMA, and I encourage all of my County Emergency Management colleagues to pursue the program,“ said Baker. “I also want to congratulate Montgomery County on this important milestone. Although they are one of the smaller counties in the state, Montgomery County has a very proactive Emergency Manager and is proof that any county can achieve accreditation if they are willing to put in the effort.”
Local emergency management offices that are interested in obtaining this accreditation will need to compile and/or develop the policies, plans and documents necessary to meet accreditation standards. Any documentation that is required will be shared or uploaded to the NY Responds web portal so that materials can be reviewed in advance of the on-site 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 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.