About the Nevada Division of Emergency Management

Division Overview

Nevada's Division of Emergency Management (DEM) is a division of the Department of Public Safety, DEM Operates under the authority of NRS 414.

Staff is on call 24/7/365 to assist local and tribal authorities in response to emergencies. In addition, they staff the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) when a disaster or emergency threatens the state, as well as prior to, during and after large scale events. Contact our dispatch center at 775-687-0400

Depending on the incident, when the SEOC is activated, it is staffed by DEM and representatives from the appropriate state agencies and volunteers, with responsibility for disaster response and recovery efforts.

The day-to-day responsibilities of emergency management are carried out by the agency's sections: 

  • Administrative/Fiscal Section
    Our administrative/fiscal staff handles, budgets, fiscal accounting, personnel, payroll, travel and all other functions that support all facets of our agency.
  • Grants & Recovery Section
    Grants Management - Office of Domestic Preparedness (ODP) funding, Emergency Management Planning Grant (EMPG) funding, Department of Energy (DOE) funding and Waste Isolation/Project Plant (WIPP) funding.
    Hazard Mitigation - Hazard analysis and risk assessment, and grants. Public Assistance - Mutual aid, coordination of financial assistance for state of emergencies and Presidential declarations. 
  • Preparedness Section
    Operations and Planning - Statewide planning, operations support and communications. 
    Training and Exercise - Training, anti-terrorism planning, critical infrastructure analysis.
    Southern Nevada Office - Regional Preparedness staff and Statewide Interoperable Communications Coordinator.  
  • Homeland Security Section
    In 2003 the Nevada Legislature created the Nevada Commission on Homeland Security as a response to the terror attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001. As described in Chapter 239C of the Nevada Revised Statues (NRS 239C), the Nevada Commission on Homeland Security is tasked with several responsibilities directed toward making recommendations to the Governor, the Legislature, local governments, private business, and citizens about actions and measures that may be taken to protect the citizens and visitors to this State from potential acts of terrorism and related emergencies.
  • State Emergency Operations Center -Activated when local capabilities are overwhelmed or when there is an operational need for the resource.

Mission & Vision Statements

Vision: Building Nevada resilience through coordination and partnerships.  

Mission: Coordinating mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery programs and resources through partnerships to build resilient communities for Nevada’s residents and visitors.  
Values: Leadership, Accountability, and Teamwork

Division Goals

 Goal 1: Efficient teamwork, strengthened by collaboration, communication, and leadership. 

 Goal 2: Accountable partnerships in coordinating emergency and disaster resources for the Whole Community. 

 Goal 3: Effective leadership in building and maintaining statewide emergency and disaster capacity.

Strategic Planning Framework

The strategic planning framework was built upon over 18 months of effort and establishes a roadmap for the Nevada Division of Emergency Management (DEM) to evolve over the next five years. It is based on previous DEM strategic planning efforts with input from the statewide community, and it aims to provide a vision for emergency management throughout the state, and not just a vision for DEM.

Annual Report

This report does provide significant detail of DEM’s daily activities over the last year, it is primarily intended to provide a high level overview to partners and decision makers throughout the state.

Nevada State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (SCEMP)

The objective of the State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (SCEMP) is to reduce the possible consequences of an emergency by preventing loss of life and injuries; reducing damage to infrastructure, buildings, and homes; thus accelerating the resumption of normal daily life activities; and to the maximum extent possible, protect the environment.

Continuity of Operations Plan

Continuity of government is paramount in the event of a crisis or emergency within, or affecting the State of Nevada. The State is vulnerable to a variety of hazards that threaten its citizens, communities, businesses, economy and the environment.  The September 11, 2001 attack on our nation emphasized this point and increased the urgency to strengthen plans and procedures that provide for the continuation of civil government and a capability to perform essential functions over a wide range of contingencies. 
The Continuity of Government (COG) Plan of the State of Nevada provides that each of the three branches of government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) will establish and maintain a viable Branch Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan that assures the performance of essential functions during emergency or other situations that disrupt normal operations. This document is updated annually.

Statewide Resilience Strategy

The Statewide Resilience Strategy provides a general overview for how and why Nevada should transition to a resilience paradigm for its emergency management and  homeland security initiatives. It examines the existing efforts and provides proposals for how to reinforce existing systems, and more important, how to coordinate all of these systems in the most efficient and productive way possible. 

EMAP Accreditation

The State of Nevada- Division of Emergency Management/Homeland Security (DEM) has achieved full accreditation and exhibits “best practices” in the management of emergencies by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP).

EMAP is a voluntary accreditation process for state, territorial and local governments’ emergency management programs that coordinate preparedness and response activities for all disaster types based on national standards. It recognizes the ability of emergency management programs to bring together personnel, resources and communications from a variety of agencies and organizations in preparation for and in response to an emergency, in addition to obtaining the ability to measure those capabilities.

DEM was the lead agency responsible for ensuring the state’s accreditation, which is a means of demonstrating through program examination, documentation and on-site assessment by an independent team that a program meets national standards.

DEM met stringent criteria and went through a rigorous yearlong program of evaluation, documentation and review. The EMAP process evaluates emergency management programs on compliance with 64 national standards in 16 functional areas, including: planning; resource management; training; exercises; evaluations and corrective actions; and communications and warning.

History of DEM

  • Nov. 28th, 1861, territorial Gov. James Nye signed off on the “An Act in relation to the Militia of the Territory of Nevada” and established the Nevada National Guard.
  • The Nevada Territory acquired statehood in 1864
  • The Nevada Division of Emergency Management was established in 1953.
  • From 1953 to 1967 DEM was under the Nevada department of Defense before converting into the Nevada Department of the Military in 1967.
  • In 1993 the Nevada Department of the Military was renamed the Nevada Office of the Military
  • DEM was under the Nevada Department/Office of the Military from 1967 to 1999. In March 24th, 1999, Governor Guinn approved NRS 414.040 which states: 
     “A division of emergency management is hereby created within the department of motor vehicles and public safety.”  
     “The chief of the division is appointed by and holds office at the pleasure of the director of the department of motor vehicles and public safety.” 
     “The division is the state agency for emergency management and the state agency for civil defense for the purposes of the compact ratified by the legislature pursuant to NRS 415.010.” 
     “The chief is the state’s director of emergency management and the state’s director of civil defense for the purposes of the compact.” 
  •  In January 2010, Office of Homeland Security merged with the Division of Emergency Management.

Past Legislative Actions

  • AB 715 (9/01/1988)
    Require division of emergency management to establish procedures of reports of spills or accidents involving hazardous materials.  
  • SB 533 (9/01/1988)
    Allow funding of local emergency response planning committees.  
  • AB 445 (9/01/1988)
    Authorize employment of additional deputy director of department of motor vehicles and public safety.  
  • BDR 53-1007 (9/01/1988)
    Allow emergency response commission to have access to certain records of employment security department.  
  • SB 329 (01/13/1989)
    Various changes concerning board of Search and Rescue.  
  • AB 351 (02/07/1989)
    Create funds for division of emergency management.
  • Ch. 269 (02/07/1989)
    Appropriation to the division of emergency management to update state’s disaster preparedness plan.
  • AB 933 (06/09/1989)
    Appropriation for support of Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety.  
  • AB 124 Ch. 483 (08/14/1990)
    Required consideration of certain hazards to populated areas in planning and zoning.
  •  SB 458 (01/24/1991)
    Require division of emergency management to establish program for earthquakes education for school children.
  • AB 109 (06/11/1992)
    Create a State Emergency Operations Center within Division of Emergency Management of Department of the Military.  
  • BDR 43 (02/13/1995)
    Creates Divisionof Special Services within the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety.  
  • AB 626 (08/19/1998)
    Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety- Emergency Management; Makes changes concerning emergency management.  
  • SB 193 (10/16/1998)
    Revises procedures under which local government may receive services related to emergency management.  
  • SB 441 (2001)
    In 2001, a NRS was passed to determine that the division of emergency management is created within the department of public safety.  
  • AB 441 (2003)
    Legislature passed Assembly Bill 441 which created the Office of Homeland Security and the Nevada Commission on Homeland Security
  • SB 39 (12/20/12)
    Revises provisions governing the Nevada Commission on Homeland Security. (BDR 19-342)
  • SB 44(12/20/12)
    Revises provisions relating to allocations from the Disaster Relief Account.

DEM Chief's

  • Caleb S. Cage: July 2015 to July 2019
  • Christopher B. Smith: October 2011 to April 2015
  • James Wright: Interim Chief March 2011 to October 2011- Appointed DPS Director
  • Frank Siracusa: 1997- 2011 
  • Tom Manning: Deputy Chief in 1997 
  • Charles W. Owen: 1997
  • James P Hawke: May 1993-1997
  • Bill Langley: April 1993 
  • Joe Quinn: March 1993
  • David McNinch
  • Bob King
  • Bob Andrews: Executive Director of SERC
  • General Tony Clark
  • Major General James May: 1953 to 1967