WHEREAS, the geography, industry, and critical assets of the state of Louisiana require a ready posture for emergency preparedness and response;
WHEREAS, the state of Louisiana presently lacks an organization of persons trained to perform search and rescue operations in the event of a collapse of a multi story building or of a catastrophic event at a large facility;
WHEREAS, the Louisiana Fire Chiefs Association and the Department of Public Safety, Office of State Police have committed to provide competent volunteers who can be trained to provide services necessary for urban search and rescue; and
WHEREAS, the interests of the citizens of the state of Louisiana would best be served by the creation of a commission designed to organize an urban search and rescue team, coordinate the team's training, and authorize the team's acquisition of necessary equipment;
NOW THEREFORE I, KATHLEEN BABINEAUX BLANCO, Governor of the state of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the state of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: The Urban Search and Rescue Commission (hereafter "Commission") is established and created within the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Office of State Police.
SECTION 2: The duties and functions of the Commission shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. Establishing an operational urban search and rescue team to provide statewide assistance in the event of a disaster requiring personnel with highly specialized training and equipment;
B. Providing search and rescue personnel with training related to collapsed buildings and confined spaces; and
C. Purchasing equipment necessary for carrying out large-scale search and rescue missions.
SECTION 3: The Commission shall be composed of twelve (12) members who, unless otherwise specified, shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor. The membership of the Commission shall be selected as follows:
A. The superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, or the superintendent's designee;
B. The adjutant general of Louisiana, or the adjutant general's designee;
C. One (1) representative of each of the nine (9) fire districts nominated by the Louisiana Fire Chiefs Association; and
D. One (1) representative of the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association.
SECTION 4: The Commission shall be co-chaired by the superintendent of the Louisiana State Police and the adjutant general of Louisiana, or their respective designees. All other officers, if any, shall be elected by and from the membership of the Commission.
SECTION 5: The Commission shall meet at regularly scheduled intervals and at the call of the co-chairs.
SECTION 6: A. Commission members shall not receive additional compensation or a per diem from the Department of Public Safety and Corrections for serving on the Commission.
B. Commission members who are employees or elected public officials of the state of Louisiana or a political subdivision thereof may seek reimbursement of travel expenses, in accordance with PPM 49, from their employing and/or elected department, agency and/or office.
C. Commission members who are also members of the Louisiana Legislature may seek a per diem from the Louisiana State Senate or House of Representatives, as appropriate, for their attendance.
SECTION 7: Support staff, facilities, and resources for the Commission shall be provided by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Office of State Police.
SECTION 8 All departments, commissions, boards, offices, entities, agencies, and officers of the state of Louisiana, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Commission in implementing the provisions of this Order.
SECTION 9: This Order is effective upon signature and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the governor, or terminated by operation of law.
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Secretary of State