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VIRGINS ISLANDS TERRITORIAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY VITEMA Hon. Charles W. Turnbull, PhD MG(VI)VING Cleave A. McBean Governor The Adjutant General Executive Director, VITEMA Harold M. Baker State Director “AMERICA’S PARADISE”
OVERVIEW • Although certain disasters can be handled without the assistance of the EOC, many more disaster situations require responses that overwhelm the resources of individual departments, agencies or even an entire community.
Centralization and coordination through the EOC help to focus the efforts of territorial officials and emergency managers on each island, in making decisions. The EOC creates an environment in which staff shares the same information as the decision makers; staff monitors analyze the situation and develop information for decision makers to make rapid decisions, and a variety of trained Emergency Service Coordinators (ESC’s) are organized in work groups that go beyond the scope of anyone agency or department’s boundaries. Each work group is responsible for reaching a consensus on response actions, recovery or relief efforts.
SCOPE • VITEMA is the territorial office of emergency management established within the Executive branch of the Virgin Islands government to develop and manage the Territory’s Emergency Management Program under the direct control of the Governor, with executive supervision provided by the Adjutant General, and day-to-day direction and administration provided by the State Director.
Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency • VITEMA is the sole V.I. Government Agency designated to supervise, administer and coordinate all Hazards response and recovery operations. Emergencies-whether natural, manmade or act of war place extraordinary strains on all levels of government. Demand for service escalates, while the ability to deliver diminishes, special skills, equipment and facilities are needed. These requirements create a need for territorial government officials to direct and control each island’s community under the most adverse conditions.
POLICY AND AUTHORITY • Authority is derived from V. I. Code, Title 23, and the VITEMA Act 5233 of 1986. The Executive Director of VITEMA is authorized by the Governor to carry out the provisions of Act 5233 of the V. I. Code. The Executive Director delegates to the State Director duties and responsibilities to carry out the provisions of the VITEMA Act. The State Director is the full-time administrative head of VITEMA. All full-time staff, volunteers and designated Emergency Services Coordinators (ESC’s), professional, technical and clerical personnel will be supervised by the State Director. The State Director has the authority to delegate to the Deputy Directors duties and responsibilities to assist the State Director in carrying out the functions prescribed in Act 5233.
On the Territorial level, Executive Order number 304-1987, under Virgin Islands Code, Title 23, Chapter 12, Section 1126a, establishes the Emergency Management Council (EMC) which sets the basic framework for the Territory’s participation in the Federal Disaster Assistance Program.
Public Information: • It is important for the public to know what is going on prior to, during, and after a disaster. The public must be educated about the potential disasters that could hit the territory. This education would include precautions to take, warning and sources of public information, community shelters, and sources for recovery assistance. As the central point for disaster planning/coordinating VITEMA EOC’s are responsible for disseminating information and providing assistance. During a disaster, EOC’s will serve as the source for public information, through news releases developed by the Governor’s Public Information Office (GPIO), on each island and the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS).
Standard Procedures: • The size, location and layout of the EOC vary between St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix and are dependent upon available resources on each island. Our operational procedure prescribes resources including personnel, communications, operating procedures, which each EOC chief must provide in the EOC. As a general rule all of the VITEMA’s EOC facilities serve a multi-purpose; that is a coordinating office, training/exercise activities and the EOC functions.
Personnel Readiness: • The primary means for ensuring the readiness of EOC personnel is through training. EOC’s must be exercised at a minimum of once per quarter. This means that all personnel with EOC assignments must practice their EOC duties during functional and full-scale exercises and their performance is observed and evaluated by members of the VITEMA Headquarters staff. The EOC chief (Deputy Directors) is responsible for EOC training. The VITEMA State Training/Exercise Officer and Chief Planner assist in EOC simulation exercises.
Coordinated Effort: • The key to an adequate disaster response capability is the coordinated effort on the part of all Territorial Emergency Service Coordinators ESC’s) and elements of the islands community (Public, Private, Commercial and Volunteers) assisted by EOC staff, knowing the rules of fellow EOC staff members provide all personnel with the requisite degree of training and knowledge needed to provide and obtain disaster response support that benefits the entire Virgin Islands Community.
VITEMA ORGANIZATION • Executive Staff TAG/Executive Director State Director Director, Homeland Security Div.(TBF) Special Assistant to State Director Deputy Director, St. Thomas Deputy Director, St. Croix Deputy Director, St. John
B. Senior Staff State Training/Exercise Officer(TBF) Chief Planner Federal Programs Manager Hazard Mitigation Officer Hurricane/Seismic Coordinator Communications Officer Communications Coordinator
C. Support Staff St. Croix District Emergency Planner (TBF) Program Assistant Administrative Secretary III
St. Thomas District Administrative Officer III Administrative Officer I Emergency Planner (TBF) St. John District Emergency Planner/Communications Officer Administrative Secretary I (TBF)
Homeland Security Infrastructure • Homeland Security Operations Supervisor Position • Secretary, Homeland Security Division • Additional position to be filled(Pending Funds)
Citizen Corps Councils (CCC)/Community Emergency Response Teams(CERT) (Elroy Harrison-Deputy Director)