The mission of the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is to ensure the protection of life and property by providing coordination, guidance, support and assistance to local emergency managers and first responders. Pursuant to West Virginia State Code and the West Virginia Emergency Operations Plan, the agency manages disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response and recovery efforts throughout the state by coordinating with all responsible government agencies. In the event of a federally declared disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) works closely with the division to administer assistance programs. The division contains a few key branches that work seamlessly together to achieve DHSEM’s overall mission, including: Mitigation and Recovery, Preparedness and Response, and Homeland Security. In addition to these branches, which function throughout the entire year, and the emergency call center, which is staffed 24/7, the division activates and operates the state’s Emergency Operations Center when local governments request state emergency assistance. During activation, DHSEM coordinates materials and support requested by local emergency service providers, who then administer direct assistance to citizens. When necessary, the Mobile Operations Center is activated so that key personnel can manage these tasks from the scene of an incident.
The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is made up of approximately 50 full-time employees, all of whom work within one of the division’s key branches. • The Mitigation and Recovery branch is comprised of three groups who deal with either: floodplain management, hazard mitigation or individual assistance. • The Planning Branch is responsible for maintaining emergency operations plans, mitigation plans, and other necessary planning components.
• The Preparedness and Response branch is made up of the REP Program, Regional Response Teams, Communications, the State Emergency Operations Center, Watch Center, Integrated Flood Warning System, and Training.
• The Administrative Branch is responsible for accounts payable, accounts receivable, grant managment, human resources, budgeting, asset management, and financial auditing. • The SERC/Tier II/Tech Hazards is responsible for the Tier II Program, Toxic Release Inventory Program, and administration of the State Emergency Response Commission.
All branches of the DHSEM and Emergency Operations Center are managed by the Division Director, Jimmy Gianato. He also serves as the state’s Homeland Security Advisor, as appointed by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in late 2010.