(1) The Legislature finds and declares that the state is vulnerable to a wide range of emergencies, including natural, technological, and manmade disasters, all of which threaten the life, health, and safety of its people; damage and destroy property; disrupt services and everyday business and recreational activities; and impede economic growth and development. The Legislature further finds that this vulnerability is exacerbated by the tremendous growth in the state’s population, especially the growth in the number of persons residing in coastal areas, in the elderly population, in the number of seasonal vacationers, and in the number of persons with special needs. This growth has greatly complicated the state’s ability to coordinate its emergency management resources and activities.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature to reduce the vulnerability of the people and property of this state; to prepare for efficient evacuation and shelter of threatened or affected persons; to provide for the rapid and orderly provision of relief to persons and for the restoration of services and property; and to provide for the coordination of activities relating to emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation among and between agencies and officials of this state, with similar agencies and officials of other states, with local and federal governments, with interstate organizations, and with the private sector.
(3) It is further the intent of the Legislature to promote the state’s emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation capabilities through enhanced coordination, long-term planning, and adequate funding. State policy for responding to disasters is to support local emergency response efforts. In the case of a major or catastrophic disaster, however, the needs of residents and communities will likely be greater than local resources. In these situations, the state must be capable of providing effective, coordinated, and timely support to communities and the public. Therefore, the Legislature hereby determines and declares that the provisions of this act fulfill an important state interest.