Department of Emergency Management
and Homeland Security
At a Glance
JAMES M. THOMAS, Commissioner
Wayne Sandford, Deputy Commissioner
Established – 2004
Statutory authority – CGS Chapter 517, Title 28
Central office –
Number of employees - 85
Recurring operating expenses - 4,347,211
Organizational structure - Office of the Commissioner; Emergency Preparedness; Finance and Administration; Strategic Planning and Grants Management; Domestic Terrorism; Urban Search and Rescue.
The Mission of the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is to direct and coordinate all available resources to protect the life and property of the citizens of Connecticut in the event of a disaster or crisis, through a collaborative program of prevention, planning, preparedness, response, recovery, and public education.
The Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is responsible for coordinating with state and local government personnel, agencies, authorities and the private sector to ensure adequate planning, equipment, training and exercise activities by such personnel, agencies, authorities and the private sector with regard to homeland security; coordinating, and as may be necessary, consolidating homeland security communications and communications systems of the state government with state and local government personnel, agencies, authorities, the general public and the private sector; distributing and, as may be appropriate, coordinating the distribution of information and security warnings to state and local government personnel, agencies, authorities and the general public; and establishing standards and security protocols for the use of any intelligence information.
· New Regional Planning and Preparedness Boundaries
September of 2005, Governor Rell signed and executed Executive Order Number
Ten, establishing the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as the
standard system within the State of
Ultimately, the Subcommittee recommended the creation of five (5) new Emergency Preparedness Regions, which were then approved by the EMHSCC in August 2005.
In September of 2005, Governor Rell signed and executed Executive Order Number Ten. The federal Department of Homeland Security requires compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) in order for states to qualify for certain federal funds. DEMHS developed a NIMS Implementation Plan, dated September 22, 2005, designed to ensure that the agency had fully incorporated the NIMS into all its emergency response plans, procedures, and policies. The Implementation Plan also provides guidance for all DEMHS Divisions to ensure that personnel are appropriately trained in the NIMS and prepared to effectively and efficiently execute DEMHS’ duties under the National Response Plan.
One of the most critical issues facing public safety administrators today is the ability to provide reliable, interagency communications. The Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security continued the efforts of its predecessor agencies, by expanding and enhancing the ICALL/ITAC radio system. More than 1,100 portable 800 MHz radios and chargers have been purchased and distributed to all fire chiefs, municipal police chiefs, directors of emergency management services organizations, and local emergency management directors. The distribution of these radios provides, for the first time, communications connectivity and interoperability at the command level. In addition, DEMHS provided funds to the Department of Public Safety to upgrade three tower sites around the state.
During the summer and fall of 2005, the Department of Emergency
Management and Homeland Security held a series of three hurricanes, an ice
storm exercise, a radiological exercise, and a host community exercise to test
Also, during the first half of 2006, DEMHS has conducted or taken part in a number preparedness drills, including a federal hurricane preparedness drill, a state hurricane preparedness drill and a state radiological preparedness drill.
DEMHS has pursued an extensive and aggressive public education campaign, including numerous presentations by the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, and/or other key DEMHS staff to state, regional and local public and private entities.
other education initiatives in 2005, in collaboration with DPH, DEMHS prepared
and distributed in fourteen major Sunday newspapers throughout the state, a brochure
entitled “Connecticut Guide to Emergency Preparedness.” These twelve-page, four-color resource
manuals were distributed to nearly 840,000
Also, in the summer of 2006, DEMHS launched an extensive public education campaign addressing the issues of disaster preparedness and domestic terrorism.
In 2005, DEMHS and CT-N, the state public
affairs network, worked cooperatively to install and provide live broadcasts
Three months after the agency’s inception,
from April 4, 2005 through April 8, 2005, DEMHS led the
coordination of numerous other state, federal, local
and private agencies in participation in TOPOFF 3, the latest in a series of
national security exercises mandated by Congress and sponsored by the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security. DEMHS
staff worked with state and federal partners to design and develop the TOPOFF 3
exercise, which was based on a terrorist chemical attack on
The DEMHS Statewide Anti-Terrorism Task Force is now co-located with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, in an effort to streamline investigations and response to terrorism-related allegations and incidents. A key component of this investigative and law enforcement asset created in 2005 is the Connecticut Intelligence Center (“CTIC”), a multi-agency collaborative operation that includes representatives of the FBI, DEMHS, Connecticut State Police, municipal law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard.
collects, analyzes and disseminates both criminal and terrorism related
intelligence to all law enforcement agencies in
Working in conjunction with the federal Department
of Homeland Security (DHS), private industries and local municipalities, this
Unit of DEMHS has brought $850,000 in grants to
also continues to provide security assessments for the critical infrastructure
of the state. In a collaborative effort
with the State Police Emergency Service Unit, the Critical Infrastructure Unit
completed security assessments of the main Connecticut Transit bus depot sites,
in response to the terrorist bombings in
The Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) is comprised of 140 volunteer members from numerous local
and state agencies, as well as private organizations. The team is equipped and
continues to train to respond to any natural or human-made disaster that may strike
of 2005, the USAR Team successfully participated in TOPOFF 3, working jointly
with USAR teams from