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Home > City Departments > Emergency Management Services > Section I: General Considerations and Planning Guidelines

Section I: General Considerations and Planning Guidelines


A. Policy Regarding Comprehensive Emergency Management

1. A wide variety of emergencies, caused by nature or technology, result in loss of life, property and income, and disrupt the normal functions of government, communities and families, and cause human suffering.

2. City government must provide leadership and direction to prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from dangers and problems arising from emergencies in the City.

3. Under authority of Section 23 of the New York State Executive Law, a City is authorized to develop a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan to prevent, mitigate, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters. To meet this responsibility, the City of Buffalo has developed this Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

4. This concept of Comprehensive Emergency Management includes three phases:

    a) Risk Reduction (Prevention and Mitigation)

    b) Response

    c) Recovery

5. Risk Reduction (Prevention and Mitigation):

    a) Prevention refers to those short or long term activities which eliminate or reduce the number of occurrences of disasters.

    b) Mitigation refers to all activities which reduce the effects of disasters when they do occur.

    c) Section II of this Plan, Risk Reduction, describes activities to prevent or minimize the impact of hazards in the City of Buffalo.

6. Response

    a) Response operations may start before the emergency materializes, for example, on receipt of advisories that floods, blizzards, or ice storms could impact the jurisdiction. This increased readiness response phase may include such pre-impact operations as:

      - Detecting, monitoring, and assessment of the hazard - Alerting and warning of endangered populations

      - Protective actions for the public

      - Allocating/distributing of equipment/resources;

b) Most response activities follow the immediate impact of an emergency. Generally, they are designed to minimize casualties and protect property to the extent possible through emergency assistance. They seek to reduce the probability of secondary damage and speed recovery operations.

c) Response operations in the affected area are initially the responsibility of and controlled by individual City departments and agencies, and may be coordinated by the Office of Disaster Preparedness as appropriate.

d) When individual departments or agencies are unable to adequately respond, the Office Disaster Preparedness may be asked to assume a leadership role.

7. Recovery

    a) Recovery activities are those following a disaster to restore the community to its pre-emergency state, to correct adverse conditions that may have led to the damage, and to protect and improve the quality of life in the community. It includes risk reduction actions to prevent or mitigate a recurrence of the emergency.

B. Purpose and Objectives of the Plan

1. This Plan sets forth the basic requirements for managing emergencies in the City of Buffalo:

2 The objectives of the Plan are:

    a) To identify, assess and prioritize local vulnerabilities to emergencies or disasters and the resources available to prevent or mitigate, respond to, and recover from them.

    b) To outline short, medium and long range measures to improve the City's capability to manage hazards.

    c) To provide that City government will take appropriate actions to prevent or mitigate effects of hazards and be prepared to respond to and recover from them when an emergency or disaster occurs.

    d) To provide for the efficient utilization of all available resources during an emergency.

    e) To provide for the utilization and coordination of City, County , State and federal programs to assist disaster victims, and to prioritize the response to the needs of the elderly, disabled, low income, and other groups which may be inordinately affected.

    f) Provide for the utilization and coordination of City state and federal programs for recovery from a disaster with attention to the development of mitigative programs.

C. Legal Authority

This Plan, in whole or in part, will rely upon the following laws for the power necessary for its development and implementation.

1. New York State Executive Law, Article 2-B

2. New York State Defense Emergency Act, as amended

3. City of Buffalo Charter and Ordinances - Chapter 479

4. Federal Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act

5. Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950, as amended

D. Concept of Operations

1. The primary responsibility for responding to emergencies rests with the individual City department or agency and with their Department/ Agency head.

2. Individual Departments and agencies play an essential role as the first line of defense.

3. The Mayor has the authority to direct and coordinate City disaster operations and may delegate this authority to the Disaster Coordinator and Emergency Services Coordinator.

4. The Mayor may obtain assistance from Erie County first and then the State when the emergency disaster is beyond the resources of the City.

5. The Mayor has assigned to the City Disaster Coordinator and City Emergency Services Coordinator the responsibility to coordinate City emergency management activities.

6. The City of Buffalo will utilize the Incident Command System (ICS) to manage all emergencies requiring multi-agency response. The City of Buffalo requires all Departments and agencies in the City to utilize ICS.( for a description of ICS refer to The City Emergency Response Organization – pg. 16)

7. A request for assistance to the State will be submitted through the Erie County Office of Emergency Services and presupposes the utilization and expenditure of personnel and resources at the local level.

8. State assistance is supplemental to local emergency efforts.

9. Direction and control of State risk reduction, response and recovery actions is exercised by New York State Disaster Preparedness Commission (DPC), coordinated by the State Emergency Management Office.

10. Upon the occurrence of an emergency or disaster clearly beyond the management capability and emergency resources of State and local governments, the Governor may find that federal assistance is required and may request assistance from the President by requesting a declaration of a major disaster or emergency.

E. Plan Maintenance and Updating

1. The Disaster Preparedness Office is responsible for maintaining and updating this Plan with input from the Commissioner of Fire, Commissioner of Police, the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works, the corporation Counsel and other appropriate department heads.

2. The Plan should be reviewed and updated annually with revised pages distributed by October 1 of each year.

3. Each revised plan will be signed for by each Department or Agency