An Agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia
Emergency Support Team (VEST) Status Green, Steady State

VEOC Activation Status: Green, Steady State


The Situational Awareness Unit (SAU) serves as the 24/7 central point for situational awareness and notification of events occurring across the commonwealth. The center coordinates the receipt and dissemination of relevant information to promote coordination among VDEM personnel; the State Fusion Center; state, local, and federal agencies; state emergency operations centers (EOC) nationwide; and federal homeland security and emergency response agencies. The SAU also serves as the state warning point for Virginia’s two nuclear power stations and is the link to the federal government for the Nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS). Information shared by the SAU to its partner agencies includes:

  • Situational awareness of ongoing events and incidents
  • Operational planning for imminent emergencies
  • Status reporting of events and resource requests
  • Public safety personnel tracking
  • Off-hour notification for state agencies
  • Government alerts and warnings
  • External emergency communications

SAU analysts must assess threats; monitor emerging events and emergency incidents; coordinate medical flights, search and rescue missions, hazardous materials responses, and technical rescue teams in order to assist local response personnel and agencies across the state; and provide a continuous stream of information to agency response personnel, state agencies, and decision-makers. To coordinate this information sharing, the SAU staff monitors social and traditional media information feeds; telephone hotlines; and direct communications with first responders, local governments, emergency managers, Virginia State Police, and other state agencies, as well as the private sector. The SAU is the around-the-clock entity at VDEM that links local, state, federal, non-governmental, and private sector partners through regular communication to enhance preparedness, response, and recovery coordination.