NORWICH – Emergency management officials all over the state are following a new order handed down by state legislators to become certified in the field of emergency preparedness and response.
This year, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services announced for the first time that state and local emergency management coordinators must be awarded certification via the NYS Emergency Management Certification (EMC) Academy. The NYS EMC Academy was developed to uphold Governor Andrew Cuomo’s strategy to create unified training, education, communication and response protocols. The initiative is in response to increasing instances of severe storms such as hurricanes Irene and Lee in 2011, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 that left a profound mark on the area in recent years.
“The idea is to make sure everyone is certified to the same level and has the same information, whether they have six moths of experience or have been around for 20 years,” explained City of Norwich Emergency Management Officer A. Wesley Jones. “EMOs have different emergency experiences. Some have never dealt with a big emergency; others have a natural disaster every year or two. (The state) wants to get information out to these people so that it’s consistent across the board.”