Some local officials may soon be riding around with distinctive white-and-red license plates on their vehicles, according to a media release from the governor’s office. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that the state Department of Motor Vehicles is prepared to begin issuing emergency management license plates for vehicles registered to state, county, city, town and village officials. The plates, which will be marked with “EM,” will help local officials gain access to areas during emergencies, the release said.

“New York has lived through the new reality of repeated extreme weather and natural disasters and we are reimagining every part of how our state responds so that when the next storm comes, we are ready,” Cuomo said in the release. “We are distributing the new red emergency license plates to local governments and agencies free of charge to help prioritize response efforts statewide. This will help law enforcement and first responders respond faster and keep New Yorkers safe when the worst happens.”

The new plates have a white background with red and blue lettering. The name of the state agency or the political subdivision and its county of primary use will also be displayed on the plate. “State” will appear at the bottom of state agency plates.

The state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services will determine how many red license plates will be available to various agencies and localities. Vehicles must be owned or controlled and registered in the name of the agency or locality to be eligible. 

The new plates will begin to be distributed to the agencies and political subdivisions as applications are received and processed. There is no charge for the new plates.

For additional information on plate availability and use, call the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services at (518) 242-5202.

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