Homeland Security and Emergency Services

CEPA FAQs

How was CEPA developed?

DHSES worked with the local first responder community to develop and test the CEPA tool and methodology, to include pilot testing CEPA with several Counties. DHSES has worked to streamline the approach based on stakeholder feedback. The goal is to develop a flexible, intuitive and user friendly approach that will work for every County. The current approach leverages existing data sources and builds off previous capability assessments.

What does the CEPA process entail?

The key component of CEPA is an in-person meeting between State and local subject matter experts (SMEs) to discuss and analyze local hazard and capability information and potential resource gaps. DHSES provides a facilitator and scribe for each CEPA session. DHSES works through the County Emergency Manager to schedule the CEPA sessions and ensure the appropriate State and local representation. A CEPA participant guide and other resources are shared in advance of the sessions to ensure all parties understand the process and know what to expect.

Who should attend the CEPA sessions?

From a State agency perspective, it will likely include regional representatives from the following agencies:  DHSES Office of Emergency Management, DHSES Office of Fire Prevention and Control, State Police, Department of Health (DOH), DOH Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Transportation. It will be up to the County Emergency Manager to identify the proper County agencies/SMEs to participate, to include City reps if the County includes a major metropolitan area, but all of disciplines outlined above (i.e., Emergency Management, FIRE, EMS, Public Health, Public Works, and Law Enforcement) must be included.

How long is the CEPA session?

The sessions typically run for a full day.

What occurs at the CEPA session?

Using the CEPA tool, the facilitator will engage the participants in a discussion designed to:

  • Validate (or capture) some key information about the County (population, square miles, unique issues, etc.).
  • Conduct a hazard assessment using a standardized methodology (likelihood x consequence) based on credible worst case scenarios.
  • Conduct a capability assessment using a standardized methodology to examine: Planning, Organization (People), Equipment, Training and Exercise (POETE) components of each capability, and identify any capability gaps.
  • Determine capacity limitations for each response capability (i.e., how long the County can deliver the capability without mutual aid).
  • Identify an inventory of some key response resources within the County and any anticipated resource needs
  • Capture strengths/best practices and areas for enhancement.

What capabilities are examined as part of the session?

DHSES has again worked with the first responder community to develop a list of 28 critical capabilities . Each of the capabilities are examined as part of CEPA.

How often do we need to complete a CEPA session?

A full CEPA session should be completed at least once every three years but DHSES recommends that the CEPA data be reviewed and validated at least annually.

How will t he State use the information collected?

To better understand County capabilities and potential statewide capability gaps in an effort to better plan for and respond to the needs of the Counties. The trend information will also help the State validate and/or develop or modify State programs and initiatives based on the needs of the Counties. Summary/trend information may be used to help support federal risk and capability assessment requirements, including the Threat Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA).

How can the Counties use the information?

After completing the CEPA assessment, Counties can use the results to inform their elected officials, to justify budget requests, to tailor future programs and resource allocations, and to inform future planning, training, and exercise activities.  Counties can also use the CEPA results to provide a framework for more detailed discussions with DHSES (and other State Agencies) regarding exactly what resources and support the State can offer to best support local government during emergencies.

What is the Threat Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA)

THIRA is an annual requirement that all states must complete to remain eligible to receive federal homeland security grant funding. It also involves a hazard and capability assessment but DHSES has several methodological concerns with the THIRA process and has developed CEPA to serve as the State’s system to capture and analyze hazard/capability information. However, CEPA has been engineered to support the completion of the THIRA.

How will CEPA impact grant funding?

Every County in NYS and the City of New York will be required to participate in CEPA to remain eligible for grant funding administered by DHSES. However, CEPA is not intended as a mechanism for the State to award grant funding. The information obtained from CEPA should help the Counties guide the use of grant funds and other resources to sustain critical capabilities or address capability gaps. DHSES also plans to review CEPA trends/findings on a statewide basis to help inform potential new targeted grant programs to address CEPA gaps.

What if I "fail" the assessment?

It is not possible to "fail" the assessment as it is designed to help understand and guide preparedness efforts. It is not a test and there are no right or wrong answers.

How do I schedule a CEPA session?

Contact your OEM Regional Director if you are interested in scheduling a session. We will make every effort to accommodate all scheduling requests.

How does CEPA relate to the HAZNY program?

HAZNY (Hazards New York) is an automated hazard analysis program. HAZNY asks questions concerning hazards that you face and, based upon your responses, rates and ranks each hazard. CEPA includes a hazard assessment component similar to HAZNY, but CEPA also includes a capability assessment and additional elements. Due to the fact that CEPA is more comprehensive and a grant requirement (HAZNY is not), Counties should focus their efforts on completing CEPA, although they can certainly choose to do HAZNY as well if they want to conduct a deeper level of hazard analysis. But please keep in mind that DHSES is currently in the process of evaluating the future of the HAZNY program.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

Any questions or concerns about CEPA can be directed to Terry Hastings, DHSES Senior Policy Advisor, at 518-242-5163.