Are highway departments considered ‘first responders’ by Homeland Security?
Yes, according to Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8 (HSPD-8). The Presidential Directive defines who is classified as a ‘first responder’ to help determine who should be trained and involved in emergency management operations. This is an expanded list that includes public safety and law enforcement, but also other groups left out of the Homeland Security Act that also provide support services during an emergency.
Under the definition section of the Presidential Directive.
(d) The term "first responder" refers to those individuals who in the early stages of an incident are responsible for the protection and preservation of life, property, evidence, and the environment, including emergency response providers as defined in section 2 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101), as well as emergency management, public health, clinical care, public works, and other skilled support personnel (such as equipment operators) that provide immediate support services during prevention, response, and recovery operations.
The full list of emergency responders:
- emergency public safety
- law enforcement
- emergency response
- emergency medical (including hospital emergency facilities)
- public health
- clinical care
- public works, and
- and other skilled support personnel (such as equipment operators)
Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101) (pdf)