ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that Niagara and Wyoming Counties are now accredited under the state’s Local Emergency Management program, joining 12 counties, including Erie, as well as New York City.

To become accredited, a local government must reach specific standards, proving a coordinated approach to emergency management.

The NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services administers the program on behalf of the Local Emergency Management Accreditation Council. The accreditation is valid for five years.

“Delivering an immediate response to local emergencies is a critical role shared by all county emergency managers, and Niagara County and Wyoming County have proven they have the processes in place to protect public safety,” Governor Hochul said.

Gov. Hochul also encouraged other county emergency management offices to get accreditation.

New York State’s Local Emergency Management Accreditation Program is the nation’s first accreditation at the state level for local emergency management agencies.