About VITEMA

Ensuring the Territory’s resilience to disasters.
A Message From the Director

Welcome to the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA).

VITEMA is the territorial agency with the primary responsibility for ensuring the territory's resilience to disasters.

VITEMA’s staff of professional planners, communications specialists, logisticians, operations managers and support personnel is committed to an all hazards approach to emergency management.

By building and sustaining effective partnerships with federal, state and local government agencies, and with the private sector - individuals, families, non-profits and businesses - VITEMA ensures the Territory’s ability to rapidly recover from large and small disasters by assessing and mitigating hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective response, and building the capacity to recover.

Emergency management is a shared responsibility: government cannot effectively build resilience to disasters by itself.

Individuals, families and communities must work to mitigate risks, prepare themselves and their communities for disasters, build local relationships and partnerships that will help government agencies respond to, and care for those impacted by disasters, and develop the capacity for short-term and long-term recovery from disasters.

> Director’s Office

Director Mona L. Barnes
Mona L. Barnes
Director

OVERVIEW

Our Mission

First Response Coordinator

The principal mission of VITEMA as a first response coordinator is to SAVE LIVES and PROPERTY of the territory’s population.

This is accomplished by PREPARING territorial organizations to respond to, recover from and mitigate against all-hazards through:

Planning

PLANNING

Coordinating

COORDINATING

Training

TRAINING

Exercise Activities

EXERCISE ACTIVITIES

VITEMA is the sole Virgin Islands government agency designated to supervise, administer and coordinate all-hazards response and recovery operations.

Authority is derived from V. I. Code,Title 23, the VITEMA Act (5233) of 1986 and the Emergency Management Act of 2009.


Our Vision

Pre-eminent Emergency Management Agency

To be the Pre-Eminent Emergency Management Agency in the Caribbean and the Nation

Providing an effective, responsible, and professional network of services to ensure resiliency before, during, and after a natural or man-made incident that may impact the safety and well-being of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  • The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) is the lead emergency management agency for the Territory as defined in the Virgin Islands Code, Title 23, Chapter 10.
  • As such, VITEMA’s mission is to prepare for, coordinate the response to and the recovery from all hazards and threats that impacts the Virgin Islands.
  • In recent years, VITEMA has focused the majority of its planning and training efforts on hurricane and coastal storm preparedness.
  • While this preparedness effort is extremely important, the Territory faces many equally dangerous and significant threats from other natural and man-made disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis and terrorism.
  • The Territory must maintain a high level of readiness in order to effectively respond to these threats especially in light of recent earthquake events in Haiti and Chile in our hemisphere.
  • To meet these threats, Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr., in 2009, reorganized emergency management in the Virgin Islands by consolidating VITEMA, the Virgin Islands Office of Homeland Security, the 9-1-1 communication centers, and the Public Assistance Grant Program.
  • Moving VITEMA’s personnel, program, and functions from under the auspices of the Office of the Adjutant General, the Office of Management and Budget and the VI Police Department brought greater focus to and enhanced the importance of emergency management throughout the Territory.
  • This approach has been further strengthened by elevating the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency to a cabinet-level agency under the Office of the Governor of the Virgin Islands.
The National Incident Management System (NIMS)

VITEMA has been established following the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which is a comprehensive, nationwide systematic approach to emergency management.

The system standardizes resource management procedures for optimum coordination among different islands, departments, and agencies of the V.I. Government and the private sector.

VITEMA, as it is reorganized, enhances organizational and technological operations and cooperation, which promotes all-hazard preparedness.

The components of VITEMA include logistics, preparedness, operations, grant management, administration and finance and recovery. You can learn more about VITEMA's Divisions here.

VITEMA has fulfilled his commitment to implementing a 9-1-1 system with modern equipment and services required to assist dispatchers and first responders in providing professional emergency response services to V.I. citizens – and the millions of annual guests – in the Territory.

The Unified Communications Center is currently operational on St. Croix and on St. Thomas/St. John/Water Island.

As VITEMA improves performance and coordinates services to reduce response time, the Agency will better serve the V.I. community before, during and after emergencies.

The VITEMA is committed to being the number one (1) emergency management agency in the Caribbean and will continue striving to provide quality emergency response services and to protect the security of our homeland in the Virgin Islands.

VITEMA Seal

VITEMA Seal

 

Emergency Management and Homeland Security Statutory

The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Act was enacted to reduce the vulnerability of the people and communities of the islands to damage, injury, and loss of life and property resulting from natural or man-made catastrophes, riots, or hostile military or paramilitary action.

The statute clarifies and strengthens roles of the governor and territorial agencies. It also authorizes activities with regard to the prevention of, preparation for, response to, and recovery from emergencies and provides for coordination with other jurisdictions.

> Download Statutory From the Homeland Security Digital Library