Virginia Emergency Management Symposium Begins March 22 in Williamsburg

March 20, 2017  //  

Virginia Emergency Management Symposium Begins March 22 in Williamsburg

RICHMOND, Va. — When an emergency strikes, it takes the cooperation of multiple emergency manager, police and fire departments to address the threats facing Virginia communities. Ensuring that this coordination takes place seamlessly is a year-round effort. The annual Virginia Emergency Management Symposium, taking place March 22 to 24 at the Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, brings together public safety and emergency response professionals to build relationships, share best practices and discuss important issues facing these agencies.

The Virginia Emergency Management Association (VEMA) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) co-sponsor the annual workshop to provide training opportunities for emergency responders, planners, managers and volunteers. This year’s symposium, themed “Facing the Challenge: Doing the Work,” offers more than 30 sessions from which attendees can learn vital tactics and tools to apply to their life-saving work.

An overview of some the programs offered is listed below.

March 22

  • Opening remarks including those by:
    • Mark Nugent, Emergency Services Coordinator, Middlesex County
    • Williamsburg Mayor Paul Freiling
    • Michelle Oblinsky, VEMA President
    • Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
    • Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran
    • Jeff Stern, VDEM State Coordinator
    • Brett Burdick, VDEM Chief Deputy State Coordinator
  • A discussion of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) and the role they are playing in emergency response presenters will discuss several key considerations and requirements for agencies looking to use this exciting new technology for public safety operations. Speakers include:
    • Robert Campbell, President/CEO, Alliance Solutions Group, Inc.
    • Darren Goodbar, VDEM UAS Program Coordinator

March 23

  • April Taylor, City of Orlando Deputy Emergency Manager will discuss the Pulse Nightclub shootings on June 12, 2016 that took the lives of 49 people and injured another 53 people. She will provide an overview of emergency operations centers used to manage the event and working to keep family and friends informed during a mass casualty event.
  • Mary Ann Tierney Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III Regional Administrator, will discuss policy, program and issues updates for FEMA Region III.
  • VDEM representatives will discuss the development of new situational awareness tools based upon sound scientific principles. The discussion will be led by:
    • Brett Burdick, VDEM Chief Deputy State Coordinator
    • Chris Thompson, VDEM Information Technology Manager, Crisis Applications and Communications Technology
    • Jay Nelson, VDEM Operations Planning Branch Chief

March 24

  • Hui-Shan Walker, VEMA Legislative Chair and Marilyn Harris, VDEM Senior Policy Analyst will provide attendees with a legislative update form the recently completed General Assembly session.
  • Jeffrey Lating, Loyola University Professor of Psychology, will discuss how first responders are impacted by stress during major events. This session will use the concept that critical incidents are toxins that enter the mind and body, and that one of the best antidotes for theses toxins is to provide first responders with accurate and helpful information on cognitive appraisal, an understanding of basic physiology, and stress management techniques including psychological first aid.

The symposium also features a trade show highlighting the latest products and services that help emergency managers in disaster preparation, response and recovery.

For more information, visit Follow along on Twitter: #VEMS17.



March 20, 2017

Jeff Caldwell

(804) 897-9730

Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund