Last month, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management fulfilled a request from the New York City Office of Emergency Management to provide assistance with setting up temporary morgues in the fight against COVID-19. The request was made via the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which allows states to share resources during times of declared disaster. Over the years, Virginia has provided several personnel and resources to assist with disaster response and recovery operations across the United States and Puerto Rico.
For this mission, John Scrivani, currently the Director of Office of Safety, Security and Emergency Management at the Virginia Department of Transportation, was called to assist New York due to his impressive background, which includes 20 years of service in the New York Police Department, Office of Chief Medical Examiner and Office of Emergency Management. During his tenure, Scrivani assisted with operations coordination at ground zero following the 9/11 attacks, ran the NYPD Hazmat Weapons of Mass Destruction team during the anthrax attacks, and coordinated fatality management, debris removal, and revitalization efforts for Hurricane Sandy.
His most recent 30 day assignment in NYC was to assist with mortuary affairs and management of the Body Collection Point Task Force. This includes the coordination of recovering and transferring remains to next of kin, funeral homes, or long term storage facilities. The strain on hospitals and morgues is immense as more than 20,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the city.
“Virginia is proud to answer the call when our personnel are needed,” said State Coordinator, Dr. Jeffrey Stern. “These services that are being requested are essential in ensuring successful response and recovery operations and we are grateful that we are able to provide assistance to those affected by this unprecedented pandemic.”
Scrivani returned home last week and will spend 14 days in quarantine away from his family and coworkers. When asked about his experience providing assistance through EMAC, Scrivani stated that ”EMAC is a valuable tool for all jurisdictions and I recommend agencies be well versed on the use of the compact. It was a privilege to assist NYC with this complicated and important mission. I was also able to share my experience and learn a few new techniques that I can bring back to Virginia.”
To learn more about EMAC, please visit https://www.emacweb.org/.