166A-66. North Carolina Search and Rescue Program.

(a) The Secretary shall adopt rules establishing a program for search and rescue that relies on contracts, memorandums of understanding, and memorandums of agreement with contract response teams. The program shall be administered by the Division of Emergency Management. To the extent possible, the program shall be coordinated with other emergency planning activities of the State. The program shall include contract response teams located strategically across the State that are available to provide 24-hour dispatch from the Division of Emergency Management Operations Center. The rules for the program shall include:

(1) Standards, including training, equipment, and personnel standards required to operate a contract response team.

(2) Guidelines for the dispatch of a contract response team to a search and rescue team or specialty rescue team mission.

(3) Guidelines for the on-site operations of a contract response team.

(4) Standards for administration of a contract response team, including procedures for reimbursement of response costs.

(5) Refresher and specialist training for members of contract response teams.

(6) Procedures for recovering the costs of a search and rescue team or specialty rescue team mission.

(7) Procedures for bidding and contracting for search and rescue team and specialty rescue team missions.

(8) Criteria for evaluating bids for search and rescue team and specialty rescue team missions.

(9) Delineation of the roles of the contract response team, local public safety personnel, the Division of Emergency Management's area coordinator, and other State agency personnel participating in a search and rescue team or specialty rescue team mission.

(10) Procedures for the Division of Emergency Management to audit the contract response teams to ensure compliance with State and federal guidelines.

(b) Within available appropriations, the Division of Emergency Management shall spend the necessary funds for training, equipment, and other items necessary to support the operations of contract response teams. The Division of Emergency Management may also administer any grants of other funds made available for contract response teams, in accordance with applicable rules and regulations approved by the Director of the State Budget.

(c) In developing the North Carolina Search and Rescue Program and adopting the rules required by this section, the Secretary shall consult with the North Carolina Search and Rescue Team Advisory Committee established pursuant to G.S. 166A-69. (2014-27, s. 4; 2017-57, s. 16E.2; 2017-170, s. 1.)