Order Code RS21796
April 1, 2004
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Ohio Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Authorities Summarized
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
L. Cheryl Runyon and Kae M. Warnock
Government and Finance Division
Ohio’s primary emergency management statute, Chapter 55, authorizes the state
emergency management agency and countywide emergency management agencies to
undertake specified activities and provides for mutual aid agreements, as well as
temporary seats of government for state and local governments. Assistance and funding
come primarily from appropriations, federal aid and certain tax exemptions. Ohio’s
emergency interim government code provides lines of succession for all levels of
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
Entities with Key Responsibilities
Governor: The governor is authorized to call forth the militia, execute the laws of
the state, suppress insurrection, repel invasion, and act in the event of a disaster within the
state (Ohio Constitution Article IX, §4).
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
During a declared energy emergency, the governor may order any pipeline company,
electric light, natural gas, or other utilities to sell electricity, gas, coal, or petroleum fuel
to alleviate hardship, or to acquire or produce emergency supplies to meet emergency
needs (Ohio Rev. Code §4935.03).
Emergency Management Agency: The statute established the emergency management
agency within the Department of Public Safety. The director, with the concurrence of the
governor appoints an executive director of the emergency management agency. The
executive director coordinates all activities of all agencies for emergency management,
maintains liaison with similar agencies of other states and of the federal government, and
cooperates with those agencies. The executive director is authorized to: develop a
statewide emergency operations plan; participate in federal programs; accept grants from,
and enter into cooperative agreements or contractual arrangements with, any federal, state,
or local department agency or any other person or body politic (Ohio Rev. Code
Political Subdivisions: The statute authorizes the establishment of countywide
emergency management agencies and the appointment of an executive committee to
implement emergency management and advise the executive committee on activities.
Countywide agencies establish programs for emergency management in accordance with
the federal Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C.
5121 et seq.) (Ohio Rev. Code §5502.26). In lieu of establishing a countywide emergency
management agency, two or more counties, with the consent of the chief executives of a
majority of the participating political subdivisions of each, may establish a regional
authority (Ohio Rev. Code §5502.27). The chief executive of any political subdivision
that is not a party to either a countywide agency or a regional authority for emergency
management must establish a program for emergency management within that political
subdivision (Ohio Rev. Code §5502.271).
Emergency Response Commission: The statute established the emergency response
commission, the members of which must have technical expertise in the field of
emergency response. The commission adopts rules consistent with and equivalent in
scope, content, and coverage to the federal Emergency Planning and Community RightTo-Know Act of 1986 (Ohio Rev. Code §3750.01-3750.99).
Department of Public Safety: The department administers laws governing the state
emergency management agency and enforce additional duties and responsibilities related
to emergency management services (Ohio Rev. Code §5502.01(D)).
State Board of Emergency Medical Services: The board prepares a statewide
emergency medical services plan and a plan for the statewide regulation of emergency
medical services during periods of disaster (Ohio Rev. Code §4765.08).
Emergency preparedness functions outlined in statutory definitions include:
establishment of agencies and organizations; creation of plans and standard operating
procedures for mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery purposes; hazard
identification activities; capability assessment; recruitment and retention of personnel;
dissemination of emergency public information, education, and training materials;
research; development of resource inventories; procurement and stockpiling of equipment,
food, water, medical supplies; construction of public shelter facilities, shelter spaces, and
emergency operations centers; and plans for the nonmilitary evacuation or temporary
relocation of the civilian population (Ohio Rev. Code §5502.21(H)).
When the governor, or his or her designee, proclaims that “an attack on the United
States or any nuclear, atomic, or other disaster has caused an emergency for corporations,”
(defined as a corporation for profit at Ohio Rev. Code §1701.01(A)) an “emergency” is
deemed to exist. An emergency continues until terminated by gubernatorial proclamation
(Ohio Rev. Code §1701.01(U)).
Types of Assistance
The state organized militia may be called by a gubernatorial proclamation to aid civil
authorities in the event of a disaster within the state (Ohio Rev. Code §5923.21).
If a disaster substantially destroys housing, and private enterprise is unable to fund
reconstruction and replacement, the governor may empower the state housing finance
agency to issue additional housing revenue bonds and notes (Ohio Rev. Code §175.11).
A county renewal plan for areas outside the corporate limits of any city or other
incorporated municipality in need of redevelopment or rehabilitation as a result of a flood,
fire, hurricane, earthquake, storm, or other catastrophe may be approved without requiring
a general plan for the county and a public hearing on the county renewal project (Ohio
Rev. Code §303.36).
The officers and personnel of state agencies and of political subdivisions must
cooperate with, and extend services, equipment, supplies, and facilities to, the governor
and the executive director of the emergency management agency. Every agency for
emergency management and every political subdivision that has established a program for
emergency management must execute and enforce any emergency management orders and
rules issued or adopted by the director of public safety (Ohio Rev. Code §5502.28).
Political subdivisions, in collaboration with other public and private agencies, are
authorized to develop mutual aid arrangements for reciprocal emergency management aid
and assistance (Ohio Rev. Code §5502.29).
The statute authorizes the governor to enter into emergency management mutual aid
arrangements with other states and to coordinate mutual aid plans among units of
government (Ohio Rev. Code §5502.291).
The Emergency Management Assistance Compact is codified (Ohio Rev. Code
The statute authorizes political subdivisions to make appropriations for the payment
of expenses resulting from local emergency management activities (Ohio Rev. Code
The statute authorizes state and local officials to accept private offers of assistance
(Ohio Rev. Code §5502.32).
The executive director of the state emergency management agency is authorized to
reimburse local agencies for allowable expenses. The director annually publishes the
methodology for distributing federal and state funds to local agencies (Ohio Admin. Code
For the purpose of reducing damages and threats to life, health, and property in the
event of a flood, the Division of Water cooperates with state agencies, political
subdivisions, and the federal government in the development of flood warning systems,
evacuation plans, and flood emergency preparedness plans (Ohio Rev. Code
Continuity of Government Operations
The statute authorizes the implementation of continuity of operations provisions only
if there is an attack on the United States. These statutory provisions remain in effect until
terminated by joint resolution of general assembly. The statute outlines the order of
succession and authorizes the exercise of powers and discharge of duties of the office of
the governor. State officers designate, by title, their emergency interim successors and
specify their order of succession. The governor may appoint a successor to fill a vacancy
until a successor is appointed or elected. The statute authorizes political subdivisions to
adopt or enact resolutions or ordinances providing for emergency interim successors to
offices and places a two year limit on emergency interim successors. The governor, his
successor, or interim successor, may postpone any state or local election for up to six
months (Ohio Rev. Code §161.01-.29).
The governor is authorized to designate an emergency temporary location(s), for the
seat of government. Such emergency location(s) must be within the state and may be
changed before or during the emergency and remain the seat of government until the
general assembly, by law, establishes a new location, or until the emergency ends. The
governing bodies of political subdivisions may designate alternate sites or places as the
emergency location of government (Ohio Rev. Code §5502.24).
The general assembly is authorized to pass laws to provide for the prompt and
temporary succession to the powers and duties of public offices and to pass other laws as
be necessary to ensure the continuity of governmental operations in periods of emergency
resulting from disasters caused by enemy attack (Ohio Constitution Article II, §42).
The statute disqualifies persons involved in subversive activities from employment
with emergency management agencies (Ohio Rev. Code §5502.34).
A record kept by a public office that is a security record or an infrastructure record
is not a public record (Ohio Rev. Code §149.433 (B)).
An emergency management worker who receives no monetary compensation for
services rendered qualifies for the maximum benefits applicable with respect to accidental
injury or death provided for workers and employees (Ohio Rev. Code §4123.034).
The statute grants a paid leave of absence to state employees who are certified as
disaster services volunteers, with a limit of 30 working days each year (Ohio Rev. Code
The statute suspends purchasing and contracting requirements during an emergency
(Ohio Rev. Code §125.023).
The statute exempts civil defense structures from real property, personal property and
corporate franchise taxes (Ohio Rev. Code §5502.47-49).
Critical industries that build structures underground, or that are constructed to
provide superior protection against attack in national defense, may exclude the portion of
the cost attributable to the added protection from the value of the property for purposes
of property taxation (Ohio Rev. Code §5502.50).
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in Ohio Statutes, with Citations
Act of terrorism
Ohio Rev. Code § 2909.21(A)
Ohio Rev. Code §§161.01(D),
Ohio Rev. Code § 5502.21(D)
Ohio Rev. Code § 5502.21(E)
Ohio Rev. Code § 5502.21(F),
Emergency interim successor
Ohio Rev. Code § 161.01(B)
Ohio Rev. Code § 5502.21(G)
Emergency planning district
Ohio Rev. Code § 3750.01(C)
Ohio Rev. Code § 5502.21(H)
First response equipment
Ohio Rev. Code § 3750.01(F)
Ohio Rev. Code § 5502.21(I)
Ohio Rev. Code § 5502.21(J)
Ohio Rev. Code § 149.433 (2)
Local emergency planning committee
Ohio Rev. Code § 3750.01(I)
Ohio Rev. Code § 5502.21(L)
Ohio Rev. Code § 5502.21(N)
Ohio Rev. Code § 5502.21(O)
For Further Research
The citations noted above and other elements of the state code for Ohio may be
searched at: [http://onlinedocs.andersonpublishing.com/oh/lpEx t.dll?