New York City Mayor de Blasio appoints new OEM commissioner

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced the appointment of Joseph Esposito as the commissioner of New York City's Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

As OEM commissioner, Esposito will be responsible for properly training city residents on disaster preparedness, coordinating disaster response among all city agencies and ensuring the city is fully prepared to respond to man-made and natural emergencies.

"OEM is on the front line of every major emergency and threat facing the city, and has to work in tandem with other agencies to prepare for and mobilize the city's response to any major emergency, be it a hurricane, blackout, terror attack, or neighborhood crisis like the March 12th explosion and building collapse in East Harlem," de Blasio said. "Joseph Esposito has the good judgment to react and guide the city's response during an emergency, and also has the experience of working as part of a team to marshal the resources of the city and execute strategies to save lives."

Esposito is a 44-year veteran of the New York Police Department (NYPD), having served in almost every uniformed position of the department. He was an important part of the NYPD's evolution from a traditional crime-fighting organization to one with a counterterrorism mission at its core, following the attacks on September 11, 2001.

"Every mayor's first priority is keeping New Yorkers safe, and I am honored to be entrusted with the task of upholding this promise in times of citywide crisis," Esposito said. "From terrorist attacks to hurricanes, our city has experienced devastating crises-and we have weathered these events in no small part because of the hardworking efforts of OEM. As commissioner, I will work tirelessly to build on and improve OEM's strong response record, and deliver the rapid and robust emergency response service New Yorkers deserve."

De Blasio also announced that Irwin Redlener, the founder and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Earth Institute, will come onto the OEM as an unpaid special advisor with a focus on emergency management and planning.

"As an expert in this field, and a physician, (Redlener's) innovative thinking and depth of knowledge of how we can best keep our city's most vulnerable populations safe will prove to be a tremendous asset and we are lucky to be able to draw from his expertise," de Blasio said.