Laws of New York State
Reference: New York State Legislature
Last Update: Feb 22, 2015

§29-B - Use of disaster emergency response personnel in disasters

Cite: N.Y. E.X.C. Law § 29-B (Consol.).


1. The governor may, in his or her discretion, direct the state disaster preparedness commission to conduct an emergency exercise or drill, under its direction, in which all or any of the personnel and resources of the agencies of the commission of the state may be utilized to perform the duties assigned to them in a disaster, for the purpose of protecting and preserving human life or property in a disaster. During a disaster or such drill or exercise, disaster emergency response personnel in the state shall operate under the direction and command of the chair of such commission, and shall possess the same powers, duties, rights, privileges and immunities as are applicable in a civil defense drill held at the direction of the state civil defense commission under the provisions of the New York state defense emergency act.

2. Local use of disaster emergency response personnel. a. Upon the threat or occurrence of a disaster, and during and immediately following the same, and except as otherwise provided in paragraph d of this subdivision, the county chief executive may direct the emergency management director of a county to assist in the protection and preservation of human life or property by calling upon disaster emergency response personnel employed by or supporting that county, as specified in the county comprehensive emergency management plan, to perform the emergency response duties assigned to them.

b. The disaster emergency response personnel of the county shall be regarded as a reserve disaster force to be activated, in whole or in part, by the county emergency management director upon the direction of the county chief executive when the county chief executive, in his or her discretion, is convinced that the personnel and resources of local municipal and private agencies normally available for disaster assistance are insufficient adequately to cope with the disaster.

c. Except as provided in paragraph d of this subdivision, the county chief executive may exercise the power conferred upon him in paragraph a of this subdivision, or may deactivate the disaster emergency response personnel of the county in whole or in part, on his own motion or upon the request of the chief executive officer of a village, town or city located within the county of which he is an officer.

d. Where the local office of public safety or emergency management in a city is independent of the county office of public safety or emergency management and is not consolidated therewith, the county chief executive may direct the emergency management director of the county to render assistance within such city only when the chief executive officer of such city has certified to him that the disaster emergency response personnel of the city have been activated pursuant to the provisions of subdivision three of this section and that all resources available locally are insufficient adequately to cope with the disaster.

e. When performing disaster assistance pursuant to this section, county disaster emergency response personnel shall operate under the direction and command of the county emergency management director and his or her duly authorized deputies, and shall possess the same powers, duties, rights, privileges and immunities they would possess when performing their duties in a locally sponsored civil defense drill or training exercise in the civil or political subdivision in which they are enrolled, employed or assigned emergency response responsibilities.

f. The chief executive officer of a city shall be responsible for the conduct of disaster operations within the city, including the operations directed by the county emergency management director when rendering disaster assistance within a city pursuant to this section.

g. Outside of a city, the sheriff of the county, and in Nassau county the commissioner of police of the county of Nassau, shall supervise the operations of the emergency management director when rendering peace officer duties incident to disaster assistance. The sheriff and such commissioner may delegate such supervisory power to an elected or appointed town or village official in the area affected.

h. Neither the chief executive officer of a city, nor the county chief executive, nor any elected or appointed town or village official to whom the county chief executive has delegated supervisory power as aforesaid shall be held responsible for acts or omissions of disaster emergency response personnel when performing disaster assistance.

3. City use of disaster emergency response personnel. a. Upon the threat or occurrence of a disaster, and during and immediately following the same, and except as otherwise provided in paragraph d of this subdivision, the chief executive of a city may direct the emergency management director of the city to assist in the protection and preservation of human life or property by calling upon city disaster emergency response personnel to perform the emergency response duties assigned to them.

b. The disaster emergency response personnel of the city shall be regarded as a reserve disaster force to be activated, in whole or in part, by the city emergency management director upon the direction of the chief executive officer of the city when the latter, in his or her discretion, is convinced that the personnel and resources of local municipal and private agencies normally available for disaster assistance are insufficient adequately to cope with the disaster.

c. Except as provided in paragraph d of this subdivision, the chief executive officer of a city may exercise the power conferred upon him in paragraph a of this subdivision, or may deactivate the disaster emergency response personnel of the city in whole or in part, on his own motion or upon the request of the head of the city police force.

d. Where the local office of emergency management in a city is under the jurisdiction of a consolidated county office of civil defense as provided in the New York state defense emergency act, the chief executive officer of such city seeking the assistance of disaster emergency response personnel in the protection and preservation of human life or property within such city because of such disaster, must request the same from the county chief executive in which such city is located, in the same manner as provided for assistance to towns and villages in subdivision two of this section.

e. When performing disaster assistance pursuant to this subdivision, disaster emergency response personnel shall operate under the direction and command of the city emergency management director and his or her duly authorized deputies, and shall possess the same powers, duties, rights, privileges, and immunities they would possess when performing their duties in a locally sponsored civil defense drill or training exercise in the city in which they are enrolled, employed or assigned emergency response responsibilities.

f. Where the city disaster emergency response personnel have been directed to assist in local disaster operations pursuant to paragraph a of this subdivision, and the chief executive officer of the city is convinced that the personnel and resources of local municipal and private agencies normally available for disaster assistance, including local disaster emergency response personnel, are insufficient adequately to cope with the disaster, he or she may certify the fact to the county chief executive and request the county chief executive to direct the county emergency management director to render assistance in the city, as provided in subdivision two of this section.

g. The chief executive officer of a city shall be responsible for the conduct of disaster operations within the city, including the operations directed by the county emergency management director, when rendering disaster assistance within a city pursuant to this subdivision.

h. Neither the chief executive officer of a city, nor the county chief executive, shall be held responsible for acts or omissions of disaster emergency response personnel when performing disaster assistance.

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