The mission of the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) 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 multiple branches that work seamlessly together to achieve DHSEM’s overall mission. In addition to these branches 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 DHSEM personnel can support local responders.
The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is made up of approximately 90 full-time employees, all of whom work within one of the division’s key branches.
•Preparedness and Response: Responsible for the coordination and operation of the State Emergency Operations Center. Includes the Homeland Security Area Liaisons, the Watch Center, Planning, Training, and Exercises.
•Technological Hazards: Responsible for the coordination of activities related to radiological and hazardous materials planning and response. This includes the Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) program, Tier II reporting, the Toxic Report Inventory Program, and the administration of the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC).
•Mitigation and Recovery: Responsible for the implementation of program to prevent or recovery from disasters. Program areas include floodplain management, hazard mitigation and individual assistance.
•WV Intelligence Fusion Center: Responsible of the collection, analysis, and distribution of threat information.
•Mission Support: Responsible for the coordination of activities to support overall agency operations. This includes the State Interoperable Radio Network, the Integrated Flood Warning System (IFLOWS), Information Technology, and Geographic Information Systems programs.
•General Staff: Responsible for the coordination of specialized program to support preparedness and response. This includes the WV Safe Schools Program, Credentialing, Critical Infrastructure Project, and related activities.
•Grants: Responsible for managing the Homeland Security Grant Program and the Emergency Management Performance Grant. This includes completion of the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment, the State Preparedness Report, and other related grant eligibility requirements.
•Administration and Finance: Responsible for accounts payable, accounts receivable, human resources, budgeting, asset management, and financial auditing.
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.