The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) works with local government, state and federal agencies, and voluntary organizations to provide resources and expertise through the four phases of emergency management. VDEM develops and maintains state emergency plans and assists communities in developing localized emergency operations plans.
The agency also works with local jurisdictions to assist them in designing effective, long-range mitigation plans to address hazards specific to their communities. VDEM administers training courses in emergency management, hazardous materials response, and search and rescue to prepare local responders for disasters and their aftermath. Exercises and drills conducted across the state offer opportunities to put these skills into practice in a controlled setting. 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. Following a federally-declared disaster, VDEM works with FEMA to coordinate and administer aid programs to impacted individuals and public agencies.