In July 1973, Virginia took measures to ensure that the Commonwealth and its residents would be protected from the effects of disasters, both natural and human-caused. Just 13 months after Hurricane Agnes caused record-breaking flooding, the Virginia Office of Emergency Services was created. The office was renamed the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) in 2000 (Va. Code Ann. § 44-146.18). Today, VDEM works with with local, state, tribal, and federal agencies and voluntary organizations to provide crucial resources during all hazard disasters.
VDEM’s mission is to lead Virginia’s prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts to save lives and protect all Virginians, prioritizing under-resourced communities and embracing equity. It is a call we fulfill to ensure the security and resilience of every community in the state, and to drive equitable mitigation and recovery outcomes.
New threats and vulnerabilities arise constantly in our dynamic risk environment. From threats of terror to hurricanes, from cybersecurity breaches to flooding, today’s challenges are the focus at VDEM, in an agency that evolves to address them. While some threats strike with little to no warning, others provide time for VDEM to work jointly with federal and local partners to prepare, mitigate, and respond to the event.
VDEM continues to improve its readiness by planning for all hazards and improving our statewide response system. We accomplish this by providing training, equipping teams with the best technology, and exercising together as a team comprising local, state, and federal governments; private sector partners; and non-governmental organizations.