RD230 - 2016 Report on the Status of Emergency Response Plans and Preparedness Efforts in the Commonwealth

Executive Summary:
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) is pleased to report that almost all localities, executive branch agencies, and public institutions of higher education in Virginia have a current emergency operations plan.

• 136 of 138 jurisdictions (99 %) have current local emergency operations plans.

• 114 of 115 executive branch agencies and institutions of higher education submitted an updated continuity plan to VDEM.

VDEM will continue to work with these partners to ensure plans are flexible and scalable, and that they address the complex risk environment based on evolving threats and hazards.

Our current operating environment requires a shared and coordinated planning effort across state agencies and secretariats, as well as with partners outside of government. This past year, state agencies collaborated with localities on numerous successful planning efforts.

• The Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, in coordination with the Secretary of Technology, and numerous other state and federal partners developed a Cyber Security Annex to the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan.

• Longwood University began a year-long planning effort for the Vice-Presidential Debate held on their campus on October 4, 2016. This plan was coordinated with the Farmville Police Department, Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office, VDEM, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Department of Health, and the U.S. Secret Service.

Given the dynamic environment we live in, these types of collaborative initiatives are only expected to increase in 2017.

VDEM is continuing to take measures to ensure the Commonwealth is prepared for and able to respond to and recover from the threats and hazards we face. VDEM’s reorganization placed additional staff in regional offices throughout the state to streamline response and recovery activities at the regional level, coordinate regional planning efforts, and provide more direct technical assistance to localities. Additionally, this reorganization consolidated planning across the agency into a single Planning Division, which conducts strategic planning and integrates operational planning and daily situation awareness. The Planning Division is in the process of procuring disaster planning software that will be made available to state agencies, public institutions of higher education, and localities to enhance plan collaboration.

The Commonwealth is engaged in a wide variety of activities to plan for both persistent and evolving threats and hazards. The recommendations proposed will enhance the Commonwealth’s preparedness and response efforts, and help ensure the Commonwealth is prepared for all threats and hazards. Essential to this is the recommendation that agencies identify personnel within their agency to fulfill required Virginia Emergency Support Team roles and include this responsibility in employee job descriptions and if possible, compensate them for this requirement.