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For Immediate Release
November 22, 2019


Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training Program; Swift Water Training Facility; Managing Chaos Workshop; Counter Terrorism Exercise Program, and County Emergency Preparedness Assessment Program Recognized by American Security Today


The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today announced five of the Division’s initiatives have won ‘ASTOR’ awards from American Security Today, which annually recognizes outstanding homeland security efforts helping to keep the nation safe. The Division’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems training program; the first-in-the-nation Swift Water/Flood Rescue training facility; the new ‘Managing Chaos workshops; the counter terrorism exercise initiative, and the County Emergency Preparedness Assessment program all received top honors.


“Each of the initiatives recognized by American Security Today supports our mission in New York to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters and emergencies,” said New York Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy. “We are honored to receive these awards as they are a testament to the ongoing work and dedication by Division staff showcased every day.”


American Security Today’s comprehensive Homeland Security Awards Program annually recognizes the most distinguished vendors of physical, IT, port security, law enforcement, and first responders, in acknowledgment of their outstanding efforts to ‘Keep our Nation Secure, One City at a Time.’  Organizations such as homeland physical security vendors, technology security vendors, and federal, state and municipal agencies all competed for recognition.


The following Division initiatives received awards:


Excellence in Public Safety – Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training Program

Division staff have trained over 750 public safety officials from across New York in the use of unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, for public safety operations. The UAS training courses offered by the Division are provided to public safety officials and first responders free of charge. Courses are taught by a team of instructors from the New York’s State Preparedness Training Center, the National Center for Security & Preparedness, and the New York State Department of Environment Conservation, another agency at the forefront of drone operations. The State Preparedness Training Center currently offers four cutting-edge unmanned aircraft training courses.


Best Emergency Response Program for Federal/State/Local – Swift Water/Flood Rescue Training Facility

New York’s world-class Swift Water/Flood Rescue training facility located at the State Preparedness Training Center is the only facility of its kind in the nation dedicated to first responder training. Since 2018, the Division’s Office of Fire Prevention and Control Special Operations Branch has educated more than 1,200 local, state and federal rescuers on life-saving rescue techniques in controlled flood and swift water scenarios that allow students to progress safely in skill development.


Best Risk and Crisis Management Solution - Managing Chaos Workshop

This is an executive level workshop aimed at helping senior officials better manage crisis situations. Developed with funding as part of the federal Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack program, the workshop includes both academic and practical insights related to crisis leadership, crisis decision-making and crisis communication. To date, the Division has provided the workshop to over 150 senior leaders from around the state, including deliveries in Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo.


Best Law Enforcement/Crime Prevention Solution - Red Team Exercise Program

Each year Division Office of Counter Terrorism staff, in partnership with local law enforcement, work in tandem to assess the ability of businesses to recognize and report suspicious activity. During each exercise, counter terrorism experts from state and local agencies go undercover as customers and assess the ability of businesses to recognize and report suspicious activity. Division staff completed more than 1,000 joint counter terrorism exercises across New York State in 2019. Exercises were conducted in every county in the state. Division staff have completed more than 3,500 exercises statewide since 2016.


Best Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Recovery Solution – County Emergency Preparedness Assessment Program (CEPA)

The CEPA process involves facilitated workshops in every county, and New York City, to capture risk and capability related information to identify and address preparedness gaps. The insight gained through CEPA also helps to identify statewide trends and allows state and local agencies to make more informed emergency preparedness and response decisions.



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.




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