Governor's Office of Emergency Services


Welcome to the Governor's Office of Emergency Services
Director Henry Renteria


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California Emergency Council History

For many years organizations addressing natural disasters and war emergencies were separate and distinct. Since 1945, the Legislature has combined in a single organization the responsibility for planning and preparing for both war-caused and natural disasters.

1917:The State Legislature adopted an act to create a state council of defense to consider measures for national defense.

1929:California created the State Emergency Council to prepare a plan and to consider ways and means for dealing with possible future emergencies.

1941:The California State Council of Defense was created, a temporary body with limited powers, to formulate a program of state and local government participation in the National Defense Program.

1943:The Legislature passed the State War Powers Act which created the California State War Council to replace the State Council of Defense in order to increase the emergency war powers of the Governor during World War II.

1945:By enactment of the California Disaster Act, the State War Council was superseded by the California State Disaster Council. It was given the responsibility for planning and preparing for both war-caused and natural disasters.

1970:The California Disaster Act was superseded by the Emergency Services Act which re-designated the State Disaster Council as the California Emergency Council, with no major changes in composition, powers, or duties.

2007:The State Legislature adopted amendments that added a representative of a local public health agency to Council membership; required the Council to have two (2) advisory committees with specified memberships and duties; encouraged integrated preparedness efforts of communities, businesses, and schools; and required the publication of a biennial report on emergency preparedness, among the Council's duties.