PHILADELPHIA – Flooding is a constant threat in West Virginia. In the past 10 years, West Virginia has received over 20 federal disaster declarations, the vast majority of which are for flooding events. In this time, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) have worked together to respond to these events, recover from them, and mitigate the risks of future flooding. Today, FEMA and DHSEM are taking a step forward to enhance collaboration and teamwork with the establishment of a FEMA Integration Team (FIT). This federal team will work alongside DHSEM to continue to support ongoing recovery efforts from past flooding as well as prepare for future emergencies.
The FIT was officially adopted by Memorandum of Agreement signed on Monday, May 13th, 2019 by Mike Todorovich, DHSEM Executive Director, and MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA Region III Regional Administrator. Under the agreement, the FIT will increase FEMA’s ability to provide on-site technical assistance and rapid delivery of FEMA’s programs within the State of West Virginia and enhance FEMA’s direct coordination with state partners.
FEMA works closely with DHSEM on long-term planning, operational coordination, and program implementation and closeout through staff located in both the regional office in Philadelphia and staff stationed in Charleston, WV. The FIT enhances that collaborative effort by bringing in additional staff to enhance mitigation, response and recovery planning capabilities. “Additional collaboration with FEMA will help strengthen West Virginia’s ability to prepared and build resiliency,” stated Mike Todorovich, Executive Director for DHSEM. “As well as continue to provide support to the communities still recovering from past flooding events.”
The FIT represents FEMA’s commitment to reducing the complexity of FEMA programs. The team will work closely with their counterparts in West Virginia to develop a coordinated strategy to promote programs and initiatives that will prepare the state and communities for disasters. “FEMA has had a consistent presence in West Virginia supporting ongoing recovery efforts” stated MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA Region III Regional Administrator. “By building a larger, more comprehensive team working directly with West Virginia on disaster assistance programs, hazard mitigation, and emergency response planning, we can continue to build a true culture of preparedness, ready the nation for catastrophic events, and reduce the complexity of FEMA across the state.”
The FIT program allows FEMA to meet the needs of each state while planning and preparing for potential catastrophic emergencies. FEMA currently has 24 FITs in place, including in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Maryland. The West Virginia FIT continues FEMA’s rollout of this new and important program, a cornerstone element of implementing FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. The West Virginia Team is the 25th FIT out of a planned minimum of 34 for 2019.
To learn more about DHSEM and preparedness across the State of West Virginia, please visit https://dhsem.wv.gov. For more information on FEMA Region III, please visit www.FEMA.gov/region-iii. For more information on FEMA’s Strategic Plan, please visit https://www.fema.gov/strategic-plan.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Learn more about FEMA Region III at www.FEMA.gov/region-iii. Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.