Kentucky Emergency Management and Homeland Security Authorities Summarized.
CRS Report for Congress
Kentucky Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Authorities Summarized
March 23, 2004
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
Sula P. Richardson
Analyst in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
L. Cheryl Runyon and Kae M. Warnock
Government and Finance Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Kentucky Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Authorities Summarized
Kentucky’s primary emergency management statutes create a statewide
comprehensive emergency management program with an integrated emergency
management system, and provide for assessment, mitigation, preparation, response,
and recovery from threats to public safety and all major hazards. They confer
emergency management powers upon the governor and the chief executives of local
governments. The statutes also provide for mutual aid among the cities and counties,
with other states, and the federal government.
This report is one of a series that profiles emergency management and homeland
security statutory authorities of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each profile identifies the
more significant elements of state statutes, generally as codified. Congressional
readers may wish to conduct further searches for related provisions using the Internet
link presented in the last section of this report. The National Conference of State
Legislatures provided primary research assistance in the development of these
profiles under contract to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Summary
information on all of the profiles is presented in CRS Report RL32287. This report
will be updated as developments warrant.
Entities with Key Responsibilities.................................1
Types of Assistance............................................3
Continuity of Government Operations..............................5
For Further Research...........................................8
List of Tables
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Terms Defined in Kentucky Statutes, with Citations...........8
Kentucky Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Authorities Summarized
Entities with Key Responsibilities
Governor: The governor is authorized to make, amend, and rescind any
executive orders as deemed necessary (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.090) and to: enforce all
laws and administrative regulations; assume direct operational control of all forces;
require state agencies and request local governments and agencies to respond to
emergencies; commandeer property and sell or lend same; exclude nonessential or
uncooperative personnel from a disaster area; order curfews; prohibit or limit the sale
or consumption of goods or commodities; and perform other actions necessary to
secure the population (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.100(1)(a-j).
Division of Emergency Management: The statute created the Division of
Emergency Management (DEM) to develop a program for response to all hazards,
but primarily domestic hazards and threats, including natural, man-made,
technological, industrial, or environmental emergencies or disasters. DEM must
develop a response program in consultation with all levels of state and local
government, and may accept any grant, contribution, or funding, federal or otherwise,
to assist in meeting the costs of emergency management (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.030).
DEM is to: maintain the Kentucky Emergency Operations Plan (the Plan) and
execute disaster and emergency assessment, mitigation, preparedness, response, and
recovery activities for all hazards; coordinate all disaster and emergency responses
by and between state and local agencies, political subdivisions, federal agencies,
other states, and private organizations or companies. Also, DEM coordinates all
recovery operations and mitigation initiatives subsequent to disasters or emergencies,
along with public information activities (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.050 (1)). The Plan
must be submitted to the governor for approval following each gubernatorial election.
DEM maintains the state Emergency Operations Center as the primary 24-hour
warning point, as well as a communications and command center, from which the
governor, cabinet secretaries, department heads, and other state agency officials can
manage disaster and emergency response. DEM must: establish and operate area
field offices; provide funds to cities and county governments to support the
development and operation of local emergency management agencies; ascertain
needs and procure emergency supplies, materials, and equipment; assess the threat
of and the capacity for responding to acts of war or terrorism; and identify how state
and federal funds will be allocated (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.050 (2)(a-q)). The
governor’s Earthquake Hazards and Safety Technical Advisory Panel and the
Emergency Response Commission are attached to DEM for administrative purposes
(Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.040).
Director of Emergency Management: The director is appointed by the governor
and serves under the general direction of the adjutant general of the Department of
Military Affairs (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.060). The director is authorized to: represent
the governor on all matters pertaining to emergency management; promulgate
necessary administrative regulations, orders, and rules; supervise the development
of the state emergency operations plan; advise the governor and adjutant general of
any disaster or emergency; and recommend executive action. The director may:
utilize personnel and equipment of existing offices and agencies; procure motor
vehicles, communications and safety equipment, and other necessary supplies; give
directions to the state or local boards of health as necessary; and enter into reciprocal
aid agreements or compacts with other states, the federal government, or a province
of a foreign country (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.070).
Political Subdivisions: Units of local government may make, amend, and
rescind orders and promulgate administrative regulations necessary for disaster and
emergency response purposes (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.180). All county governments are
required to operate a local emergency management agency to develop, implement,
and maintain a local comprehensive emergency management program, including a
local emergency operations plan. County and city governments sharing territorial
boundaries are encouraged to jointly create a single, unified local emergency
management agency (Ky Rev. Stat. §39B.010).
Local emergency management agency: The local agency is to be the
organizational unit of city or county government under the office of county judge,
executive, or mayor with primary jurisdiction, and is to exercise authority for all
matters pertaining to the local comprehensive emergency management program. All
local agencies are to be under the direction of the director of emergency management
and the governor (Ky Rev. Stat. §39B.010 (3)). Local governments located within
the territorial boundaries of the same county may jointly appoint a single local
emergency management director (Ky Rev. Stat. §39B.020). The director is to: notify
other local governments and DEM of an actual or impending emergency or disaster,
recommend emergency actions; serve as chief advisor and primary on-scene
representative of local government. The director supervises all paid or volunteer
emergency management workers and all official operating units or personnel (Ky
Rev. Stat. §39B.030). Each local emergency management director is to establish and
maintain a local disaster and emergency services organization responsible for the
performance of all disaster and emergency response functions, with the exception of
forest fire emergency response (Ky Rev. Stat. §39B.050).
Emergency Response Commission: The statute established the Emergency
Response Commission and directs the commission to develop policies related to the
response of state and local governments to releases of hazardous substances as well
as standards and reporting requirements. The statute also establishes emergency
planning districts and local emergency planning committees in accordance with the
federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (Ky Rev. Stat.,
Chapter 39E et. seq.).
State and local emergency operations plans must include measures for control
of traffic for rapid and safe movement in evacuation; traffic regulations; and
prohibition or limitation of use of motor vehicles on public highways during any
disaster or emergency (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.150). State and local plans are to include
procedures for one multi-risk, multi-agency, unified incident command or
management system to be used by all state agencies responding to the scene of an
emergency, declared emergency, disaster, or catastrophe (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.230).
DEM is to maintain an emergency operations center and necessary alternate
locations, and activate the center on the order of the director, the adjutant general, or
the governor. Upon request, each cabinet and independent agency of state
government is to provide an authorized person who is charged to make decisions for
the agency during an emergency or impending event (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.240).
The adjutant general and DEM, utilizing federal funds and agency funds, shall
establish and chair a working group of state and private agencies to help identify risks
and needs. They must: assess the state’s preparedness to respond to acts of war or
terrorism, including nuclear, biological, chemical, agricultural, electromagnetic pulse,
or cyber terrorism events; develop and implement statewide strategies to respond to
acts of war or terrorism; and provide information on how individuals and private
organizations can best prepare for and respond to incidents. The working group is
to encourage private organizations to specifically commit to provide food, shelter,
personnel, equipment, materials, consultation and advice, or any other services
needed and conduct an annual assessment and report of capabilities subject to the
continued availability of federal and agency funds (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.287).
In the event of the occurrence or threatened occurrence of a natural or man-made
disaster, the governor may declare a state of emergency (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.100(1)).
A county judge, executive, mayor or chief executive of other local governments
or their designees may declare in writing that a state of emergency exists. Such
officials may enforce all laws and administrative regulations; exclude nonessential,
or uncooperative personnel from the scene of the emergency, declare curfews;
purchase or rent essential goods and services; and request emergency assistance from
any local government, special district or state agency (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.100 (2)).
Each city or county government may declare a state of emergency and execute
emergency powers and may: appropriate funds, make contracts, obtain equipment,
materials, and supplies; provide for the health and safety of persons and property;
enact orders or ordinances; provide, with or without compensation, local emergency
management agency staff; and establish primary and secondary emergency operations
centers. In a national or state emergency, local officials may waive procedures and
formalities otherwise required by the law; and confer powers of peace officers upon
members of the auxiliary police (Ky Rev. Stat. §39B.070).
Types of Assistance
The governor may: authorize any state agency to lease or lend any real or
personal state property to the federal government; lease or loan any real or personal
state property to any political subdivision; or permit state employees to engage in
disaster and emergency response activities, within or without the state. State
employees assigned or volunteering for duty are to be considered employed by the
agency to which they are regularly assigned, and continue to receive salary and
benefits while engaging in disaster and emergency response work (Ky Rev. Stat.
See also “Funding.”
The Emergency Management Assistance Compact is codified (Ky Rev. Stat.
The statute authorizes DEM to enter into agreements with other states for the
provision of emergency management services or mutual aid. City and county
emergency management agencies may make written agreements with similar local
agencies in adjoining states. Agreements are subject to the same rights and privileges
as state agreements, but are limited to two years, unless renewed. The statute
protects the standard rights and privileges of state and local paid or volunteer
emergency management personnel working outside the state and extends the same
rights and privileges to emergency management personnel of other states; this
provision does not apply to peace officers unless approved in writing by the governor
or the General Assembly. The statute extends workers’ compensation protection to
paid employees or volunteers from other states, but excludes hazardous materials
emergency response operations above the first-responder operations level. Workers
from another state who hold a license or certification from their state to practice a
profession for which a license is required are to be considered certified in Kentucky
(Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.260).
City and county employees rendering aid outside their jurisdiction have the same
powers, duties, rights, privileges, and immunities as if they were performing their
duties in the jurisdiction in which they are normally employed (Ky Rev. Stat.
A local emergency management director may develop mutual aid arrangements
with special districts and other public and private agencies within the state for
reciprocal disaster and emergency response aid. Such arrangements must be
consistent with state and local emergency operations plans. Local directors are
authorized to assist DEM in the negotiation of reciprocal mutual aid agreements
between Kentucky and other states or foreign states or provinces (Ky Rev. Stat.
The statute authorizes the state or a political subdivision to accept a federal or
other grant for services, equipment, supplies, materials or funds by way of gift, grant
or loan, for purposes of disaster and emergency response (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.200).
The state is to encourage and assist counties, cities, and other local governments
to maintain emergency management capabilities by authorizing the expenditure of
supplementary state funds for local emergency management agencies. Funds must
be allocated by DEM on a reimbursement basis not to exceed 50% of the total local
funds expended by the local agencies in any given year for the comprehensive
emergency management programs. The fund is to be used to help local agencies
develop comprehensive emergency management programs and response capabilities,
and to maintain and improve these agencies through enhanced training, planning,
staffing, administration, operations, and equipment acquisition. The director of DEM
has overall responsibility for policy, guidance, administration, and proper utilization
of the fund. The statute created an advisory committee appointed by the director
which assists in making initial funding annual allocations and quarterly adjustments,
and also setting eligibility requirements. DEM administers the supplementary state
funding program and, by administrative regulations, promulgates and applies
eligibility requirements and standards of performance to be achieved by all local
emergency management agencies (Ky Rev. Stat. Chapter 39C et. seq.).
A separate emergency management agency fund account is to be included in the
city or county budget ledgers. All local emergency management financial matters
involving DEM funds are handled through the local treasury and financial system (Ky
Rev. Stat. §39B.010(3)).
During a threatened or impending disaster or emergency, the governor, adjutant
general, or the director of DEM may authorize the use of public employees,
equipment, supplies or other publicly owned or supported resources to assist in the
mitigation of the potential effects of the disaster or emergency. During the response
phase of a disaster the governor, adjutant general, or the director may authorize the
use of public employees, equipment, supplies, materials, funds, or any other publicly
owned or supported resource to assist in the operations of government. Following
the active phase of the disaster, they may authorize the use of any of these publicly
owned or supported resources. Such actions do not require a formal declaration of
disaster or emergency (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.270).
City or county (or combined) emergency operations plans must include
provisions to assess, mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from all disaster
or emergency incidents. Local plans must be submitted to the county judge,
executive, mayor, or chief executive of a unit of local government immediately after
each regular election. County plans are to prevail in conflicts if the incident, or its
consequences, extend beyond the boundaries of the city (Ky Rev. Stat. §39B.060).
Continuity of Government Operations
During a state of emergency, when it becomes imprudent, inexpedient, or
impossible to conduct the affairs of state government at the state capital, the governor
shall designate a temporary location for the seat of government. If practicable, the
temporary location should conform to that provided for in the state emergency
operations plan. The temporary location shall remain the seat of government until
the governor establishes a new location or until the emergency is over (Ky Rev. Stat.
During a state of emergency, when it becomes imprudent or impossible to
conduct local government at its regular location, the governing body may be called
to establish an emergency temporary location of government within or without the
state. The governing body and other officers conducting public business at the
emergency temporary location may exercise all of their executive, legislative and
judicial powers and functions. If practicable, the location should conform to that
provided for in the local emergency operations plan (Ky Rev. Stat. §39D.020).
The governing body of each county, urban-county government, charter county
government, and city must enact ordinances and resolutions necessary to provide for
the continuity of government throughout the duration of a state of emergency. They
must also provide a method for making temporary emergency appointments to public
office, except as limited by the constitution (Ky Rev. Stat. §39D.030).
The statute authorizes state officers to designate deputies or emergency interim
successors and specify their order of succession (Ky Rev. Stat. §39D.040(2)). Each
cabinet, department, and agency of state government must appoint emergency interim
successors for each position specified in the Plan (Ky Rev. Stat. §39D.040(3)).
The statute requires that local government legislative bodies provide for
emergency interim successors and specify the order of succession for each
department or agency identified in the Plan (Ky Rev. Stat. §39D.040(4)). The
executive heads of political subdivisions not otherwise provided for designate
emergency interim successors and specify their order of succession (Ky Rev. Stat.
§39D.040(5)). Emergency interim successors must meet constitutional and statutory
qualifications to hold office (Ky Rev. Stat. §39D.040(6)). Officials authorized to act
as governor and emergency interim successors are empowered to discharge the duties
of office only during the continuance of an emergency. The General Assembly, by
joint resolution, may at any time terminate the authority of the emergency interim
successors (Ky Rev. Stat. §39D.040(8)).
The statute requires that the Archives and Records Commission: establish a
system for the preservation of essential state public records necessary for the
continuity of governmental functions in the event of an emergency, disaster, or
catastrophe; require every state cabinet, department, and independent agency to
establish a preservation program for essential records; and advise political
subdivisions on preservation of essential public records, among other provisions (Ky
Rev. Stat. §39D.050).
Each state agency, board, or commission must develop emergency operations
procedures consistent with Plan to ensure the ability to operate and protect its vital
records, and designate at least four persons who may act for the agency during an
emergency or disaster (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.220).
The state constitution provides for a line of succession for the office of the
governor (Ky. Constitution Section 87).
The statute provides that compensation be provided for property taken for
temporary use, and addresses refusals to accept compensation, and the appeals and
payment process (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.110-140).
The statute disqualifies persons involved in subversive activities from
employment with emergency management agencies (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.210).
The statute limits the liability of a state or local emergency management agency
for failure to respond to a disaster or other emergency and exempts state and political
subdivisions from liability for personal injury or property damage sustained by a
volunteer emergency management agency member, or other disaster and emergency
services workers. Volunteer or auxiliary disaster and emergency response workers
must be enrolled or registered with a local disaster and emergency services
organization or with the division (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.280(1-4), (6)).
The statute grants immunity from civil liability to persons who voluntarily and
without compensation permit property to be used as a public shelter during an actual,
impending, mock, or practice disaster or emergency (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.280(5)).
Volunteers and auxiliary disaster and emergency response workers are to have
the same degree of responsibility for their actions and enjoy the same immunities as
officers and employees of the state and its political subdivisions who perform similar
work (Ky Rev. Stat. §39A.280(7)).
Local emergency management agencies and other local emergency management
agency-supervised units or personnel, paid or volunteer, are eligible for workers’
compensation benefits when performing emergency assessment, mitigation,
preparedness, response, or recovery functions, with certain limitations (Ky Rev. Stat.
Rescue squads are authorized to be formed and to operate within specific
jurisdictions and must be formally affiliated with the local disaster and emergency
services organization. The statute also provides funding from DEM for rescue
squads (Ky Rev. Stat., Chapter 039F00 et. seq.).
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in Kentucky Statutes, with Citations
CatastropheKy Rev. Stat. §39A.020(2)
Comprehensive emergencyKy Rev. Stat. §39A.020(3)
Declared emergencyKy Rev. Stat. §39A.020(5)
DisasterKy Rev. Stat. §39A.020(7)
Disaster and emergency responseKy Rev. Stat. §39A.020(8)
EmergencyKy Rev. Stat. §39A.020(10)
Emergency interim successor Ky Rev. Stat. §39D.040(1)(a)
Integrated emergency managementKy Rev. Stat. §39A.020(11)
Local disaster and emergency servicesKy Rev. Stat. §39A.020(12)
Local emergency management agencyKy Rev. Stat. §39A.020(13)
Local emergency managementKy Rev. Stat. §39A.020(14)
State emergency management agencyKy Rev. Stat. §39A.020(15)
For Further Research
The citations noted above and other elements of the state code for Kentucky
may be searched at: [http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/Statrev/frontpg.htm].