What We Do

"Expertise through the four phases of emergency management"

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management works with local government, state and federal agencies and voluntary organizations to provide resources and expertise through the four phases of emergency management.

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What are the four phases ?

  1. Preparedness

    Planning and training are key to effectively dealing with different types of disasters. VDEM develops and maintains state emergency plans as blueprints for response to a variety of scenarios and assists communities in developing localized emergency operations plans.

    We also offer training courses in emergency management, hazardous materials response and search and rescue to prepare local responders to effectively deal with disasters and their aftermath. Exercises and drills conducted across the state offer opportunities to put these skills into practice in a controlled setting.

    To assist citizens in minimizing their risks, VDEM works with the National Weather Service and local emergency managers to conduct intensive annual public awareness campaigns promoting tornado, hurricane and winter weather safety.

    Phase 01
  2. Response

    When citizens face an emergency situation, they call 911. When local governments need assistance in responding to a crisis, they call VDEM. The state expands staffing at the Virginia Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the response efforts and provide status reports to the governor on existing conditions.

    If warranted, the governor will declare a state of emergency. In a major disaster, the state will ask for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The president may issue a disaster declaration that clears the way for federal disaster assistance.

    Phase 02
  3. Recovery

    After disaster strikes, citizens are anxious to return to their normal lives as quickly as possible. Under a federal declaration, victims should call FEMA at 1-800-462-9029 toll-free to register for disaster assistance. The TTY number for the speech or hearing impaired is 1-800-462-7585.

    A number of basic state and federal financial aid programs may be available to displaced residents in these areas. VDEM staff works with FEMA to coordinate and administer these programs. In most instances, the federal government pays 75 percent of the cost, and the state and localities cover the 25 percent share.

    Phase 03
  4. Mitigation

    Emergency management goes beyond helping communities recover from a disaster. Preventive measures now can help mitigate or lessen future losses. Many repairs can incorporate steps that will reduce or eliminate potential damage.

    Elevation of structures in flood-prone areas and restricting beachfront development are just a few examples of loss prevention. For homeowners and businesses, flood insurance is an important protection against financial loss.

    VDEM works with local jurisdictions to assist them in designing effective, long-range mitigation plans to address hazards specific to their communities.

    Phase 04

Careers at VDEM

Get involved in the Commonwealth's disaster response, crisis management, emergency training community, and help Virginians prepare for and recover from natural and man-made emergencies.

Why join VDEM?

Get to know our Leadership

Jeffrey D. Stern

State Coordinator of Emergency Management

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Brett Burdick

Deputy State Coordinator for Disaster Services

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Susan Mongold

Deputy State Coordinator for Mission Support

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Michelle Oblinsky

Virginia Emergency Support Team (VEST) Director

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Jack King

Director of Regional Support East Division

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Ted Costin

Director of Regional Support West Division

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Rex Pyle

Chief Information Officer

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Debra Kaufman

Chief Financial Officer

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Ed Porner

Director of the Recovery and Resilience Division

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Patrick Patrong

Division Director -Training, Education and Exercise

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VDEM Reorganization

Recently VDEM underwent a significant shift in focus, both internally and externally. This reorganization will help keep VDEM focused on what is important - preparing Virginia citizens. Below we have compiled details on this reorganization.

Code of Virginia

  • Declare State of Emergency*
  • Suspend Normal Procurement Procedures*
  • Control and Regulate Resources*
  • Request Federal Assistance
  • Direct Mandatory Evacuation
  • Pre-Delegation of Authority
  • Commit State Resources
  • All Actions Necessary for Protection of Public
  • Expend 'Sum Sufficient' Monies

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