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Planning & Response - Emergency Response


Emergencies in a city as large and complex as New York require a coordinated response. OEM’s response role includes incident monitoring, information collection and dissemination, and responding to large incidents that require interagency coordination.

Incident Monitoring
OEM's response role begins with around-the-clock monitoring of conditions in the City. OEM's Watch Command tracks incidents affecting New York City 24 hours a day, seven days a week by monitoring radio frequencies used by the City's emergency responders, local and national news, weather conditions, and 911 calls, among other communications channels. Watch Command also maintains the City's communication link with local, state, and federal agencies, and notifies City officials when incidents or issues of concern arise.

During emergencies that involve multiple agencies, it is OEM's responsibility to coordinate involved participants and collect accurate information so that decision making and resource allocations are carried out efficiently. Watch Command handles most of the City's emergencies that require OEM coordination. However, once a major emergency or special event becomes so large or prolonged that it requires centralized coordination and multi-agency representation, OEM activates the City's Emergency Operations Center (EOC). With space for more than 130 representatives from local, state, and federal agencies and private and nonprofit entities, the EOC functions as a central clearinghouse for information coordination, resource requests, and decision making. The City's EOC is always activated on some level through Watch Command.
Learn more about Watch Command
Learn more about the Emergency Operations Center



Emergency Alerts
During an emergency, OEM works to ensure agencies involved in an emergency response provide a unified, accurate, and timely message to the public. OEM delivers emergency alerts and updates to New Yorkers through the following channels:
  • Notify NYC, the City's official source of emergency events and important City services
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), a free emergency notification service that allows authorized government officials to send geographically targeted emergency alerts to enabled mobile devices on the AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon wireless networks
  • Broadcast media using the City's emergency public communication systems
  • Email alerts to subscribers
  • Social media, including Twitter Alerts

Learn more about Notify NYCWEA, and how OEM keeps New Yorkers informed



Field Operations
New York City uses the Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS) to define roles and responsibilities and designate authority for City, state, and other government entities, and nonprofit and private sector organizations that perform and support emergency response. CIMS is designed to be scalable, facilitating the integration of additional organizations as necessary.

OEM's Citywide Interagency Coordinators (CICs) are highly trained emergency response personnel from the Office of Emergency Management, Police and Fire Departments, Emergency Medical Services, and the Department of Sanitation. CICs respond to large incidents to facilitate interagency communication and resource requests. CICs work around-the-clock to ensure emergency response plans are followed safely and responding agencies follow incident command protocols established in CIMS.

OEM also manages Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) New York Urban Search and Rescue team (US&R), also known as New York-Task Force 1, which is made up of elite responders from New York City's emergency services. In the event of a serious disaster involving the collapse of heavy concrete and steel, FEMA will activate New York-Task Force 1 to implement specialized rescue operations.
Learn more about CIMS
Learn more about Urban Search & Rescue



Resources/Mutual Aid
During large-scale emergencies, the City's EOC is the central point for allocation and deployment of resources to support response and recovery efforts. OEM may also activate the Logistics Center to coordinate resource management and movement control, including the identification, sourcing, delivery, staging, distribution, and demobilization of resources, along with coordination of mutual aid.

To support resource management, OEM uses the Citywide Asset and Logisitics Management System (CALMS) to identify facilities, fleet, heavy equipment, emergency supplies, and workers with special skill sets to fulfill critical needs during routine and emergency operations. CALMS is a web-based database of City-owned, non-profit, and regional resources, and City personnel that are typically needed in disaster response and recovery. CALMS also provides OEM with easy access to updated demographic data, City contracts, and GIS mapping to visualize data.
Learn more about CALMS



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