Virginia Response to Emergency Events

With the current forecast in the Gulf and the general increase in tropical activity, the Virginia Office of EMS would like to post some reminders about disaster assistance.  As EMS providers, we understand that you want to help and that you may feel compelled to travel to areas impacted by a major disaster.  We remind you that there is a formal process for providing assistance to areas impacted by large-scale events. You should not self-dispatch or individually respond respond to any impacted areas that needs assistance, unless you have received a formal request.  These requests will go through agencies and jurisdictions as mutual aid requests. Once those have been exhausted, additional requests for assistance from impacted areas will be routed through the Virginia Emergency Operations Center.  Requests for EMS resources will be assigned to the Office of EMS, Division of Emergency Operations where they will be filled as appropriate.


Liability, safety, and accountability become major issues when self-dispatch to affected areas occurs, whether it is done by an agency or a single provider.  Self-dispatching also places a strain on the response structure of the affected locality and takes away resources needed by those living in the areas impacted.  The best assistance you can provide is making yourself available to your local agency, not self-dispatching to the impacted areas.


If you have any questions please contact Karen Owens, Emergency Operations Division Director, at


Thank you