State of Emergency

What is a Governor’s Declaration of Emergency?

Some emergencies and disasters are sudden and unexpected, but many (such as severe weather) are known and predicted.  When an imminent threat might be severe enough to require state assistance to local governments, then discussions begin at the state level about the need for a declaration of emergency.

A Governor’s declaration allows state agencies to bypass some time-consuming paperwork and procedures in the interest of quickly getting assistance to local governments, and in turn to residents of the Commonwealth.

A Governor’s Declaration of a State of Emergency…

  • Can designate specific areas or localities, or it can be statewide.  It affects state agencies that have an active role in disaster response.
  • May be given verbally, with the written Executive Order to follow a few days later.
  • Usually is in effect for a year or more, to cover residual project and repair costs stemming from the emergency.
  •  Implements the Commonwealth’s Emergency Operations Plan and allows state agencies to take extraordinary measures to assist local governments and deal with the emergency.
  • Is the mechanism for activating the Virginia National Guard for state service.
  • Provides liability coverage for volunteers and private entities assisting in local or state response efforts.

A Governor’s declaration helps state agencies assist local governments in a disaster.  It does not automatically grant leave to state employees.  State employees who have questions about their work schedule during an emergency should contact their agency’s human resource department or the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management.