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Archives - State Agencies - Department of Emergency Services

Department of Emergency ServicesEmergency Services Photo

The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services was established in 1973 (S. L. 1973, Ch. 281) as the division of Disaster Emergency Services. The agency coordinating civil defense and disaster preparedness activities in North Dakota has experienced several reorganizations over the years. From 1941 to 1973, this function of state government was administered by the North Dakota Defense Council, 1941-1951; the North Dakota Civil Defense Council, 1951-1961; the State Advisory Council on Civil Defense, 1961-1971; State Civil Defense Division, 1961-1973; and the division of Disaster Emergency Services, 1973. The State Civil Defense Division was placed under the supervision of the Adjutant General in 1965 (S. L. 1965, Ch. 259) who appointed the director to carry out the responsibility of preparing state and local disaster plans, evaluating state and political subdivision emergency needs, operating as the state search and rescue coordinating agency, establishing disaster training and public information programs, and cooperating with the federal government and any public or private agency in employing resources.

In 1985, the Division of Disaster Emergency Services became the Division of Emergency Management (NDCC Section 37-17.1-06). Two federal laws, Pub. L. 93-288 and Pub. L. 920, as amended, and appropriated executive orders also governed the operations of the division. Appointed by the Adjutant General of the North Dakota National Guard, the division director carried out the primary mission of the Division of Emergency Management, to save lives and property in the event of a disaster. In its day-to-day operations, the division provided direction, guidance, administration, technical support, and training for state agencies and for local emergency management organizations. The division assisted the Governor in fulfilling emergency management responsibilities as prescribed by law; ensuring that adequate technical assistance was available to local governments in all areas of emergency management mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery; and that state government had adequate emergency operational capability (plans, facilities, equipment, and manpower) to support local government; coordinated and managed response and recovery resources in state or federally declared disasters or emergencies; and provided assistance to the federal government in the fulfillment of federal emergency management priorities. In a disaster or emergency situation, the Division of Emergency Management coordinated and was responsible for mobilizing manpower and equipment; conducted emergency operations; implemented and coordinated individual and family disaster assistance programs; and repaired essential facilities.

In 2003, the Division of Emergency Management and State Radio Communications were combined to establish an integrated State Operations Center, and in 2005 the State Legislature created the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, with a Division of Homeland Security and the State Radio Communications. The Department of Emergency Services is responsible to administer federal disaster recovery programs, and to provide training, awareness and coordinated preparedness, prevention and response activity for the Homeland Security programs. Emergency Services supports and coordinates statewide emergency operations throughout North Dakota. The Adjutant General serves as Director of the Department of Emergency Services, and is Chairman of the Department of Emergency Services Advisory Committee.


1973 Creation of the Disaster Emergency Services Division.

1985 Division of Disaster Emergency Services renamed Division of Emergency Management.

2003 Division of Emergency Management consolidated with State Radio Communications.

2005 North Dakota Department of Emergency Services created by the State Legislature. Divisions include Homeland Security and State Radio Communications.

2007 Adjutant General named Director of the Department of Emergency Services.


Guide to North Dakota State Archives, 1985, pp. 1-2.
North Dakota Blue Book, 2007-2009, pp. 302-303.
North Dakota Blue Book, 2009-2011, pp. 210, 308-310.
North Dakota Century Code Supplement, 37-17.1-07.1.
Public Law 99-288.
Public Law 920.


Disaster Emergency Services
31015 Plans for Statewide Fallout Shelters.
30522 Administrative Files.
30707 Civil Defense Directors Conference Transcript of Proceedings.
31249 Community Shelter Plans
31822 Incident Reports
32189 North Dakota response to the 1997 Disasters
32228 Public Information Office, Photographs

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