Assemblywoman Galef announced the passage of legislation (A.11499/S.7998) creating a Task Force to Develop a Statewide First Responder Mapping System to lessen the damage and potential loss of life in times of crisis. Such incidents would include acts of terrorism, natural disasters, fires, accidents, hostage situations, and school shootings.
The task force would be composed of members appointed by the Governor, Legislature, and select county executives throughout the state. The task force would review existing statewide mapping information systems and consult municipalities, public safety and fire departments, information experts and other sources throughout the state in order to best determine how to design and implement a statewide first responder mapping system. Within the year following the effective date of the act, the task force would report its findings to the legislature.
The Task Force mission, make-up, and structure was developed to address the need for all municipalities, state and municipal agencies and departments to work together during times of crisis. The Task Force will bring all levels of government together, a vital part of executing efficient responses to crisis situations.
“The creation of this task force and the formation of a statewide first responder mapping information system is a crucial element in ensuring public safety,” Assemblywoman Galef points out. “We have a responsibility to protect our communities, and a statewide first responder mapping information system would prove to be an essential tool in times of a crisis. This bill is most certainly a step in the right direction, and its implementation would be a decisive move toward greater public safety.”
"Given the size of New York state geographically and its location, the diversity of the millions of citizens who reside here and being home to the financial capital of the world, we are a state at great risk for terrorist attacks and natural disasters," said Senator Jim Alesi, Senate Sponsor of the legislation (R,C-Perinton). "The creation of this task force to develop a mapping system will allow first responders, who will put their lives on the line if a disaster were to strike, to have the necessary information to be better prepared in case of an emergency. I urge the Governor to give serious consideration to this bill when it arrives on his desk and sign it into law so we, as a state, can protect the first responders who devote their lives to protecting us."
"A statewide first responder mapping system is sorely needed. That is why I am pleased to support this legislation,” said Westchester County Executive Andy Spano. “The development of a comprehensive mapping system will enhance the safety of our police, fire and EMS personnel by enabling them to respond to any emergency situation armed with knowledge about the buildings, infrastructure, and other critical elements associated with a particular emergency. Giving first responders access to this information before they respond will also ensure they are the most effective they can be."
"I am pleased to see that Assemblywoman Galef has brought this crucial issue to the forefront,” said Putnam County Executive Robert Bondi. “We have seen the difficulties that first responders face in the wake of a natural disaster or threat to our safety and any effort to assist them in the critical work that they do is welcome."
A.11499/S.7998 passed both houses of the New York Legislature in 2005, but was vetoed by Governor Pataki as A8072A. New York would join the states of Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Kentucky, and Louisiana who have passed similar legislation.