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VHA Office of Emergency Management


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VHA Coronavirus imformation and guidance

Coronavirus - COVID-19

VA has activated its emergency management coordination cell (EMCC) and is implementing an aggressive and collaborative public health response to protect and care for Veterans.

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SECVA with DEMPS Personnel


The Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System (DEMPS) is the Veterans Health Administration's main deployment program for clinical and non-clinical staff to an emergency or disaster. Regardless of your profession and skill set, your participation in DEMPS is appreciated by those who need your help.

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OEM facilitates a training course for First Recievers Decntamination Program.

Protecting Our Veterans

VHA First Receivers Decontamination Program (FRDP) prepares staff to respond to incidents involving contaminated patients seeking care; to protect the well-being of Veterans, employees, and other occupants within the VA medical facility; to protect the physical infrastructure; and ensure continuity of care.

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VHA Office of Emergency Management

The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is the program office for the VHA Comprehensive Emergency Management Program (CEMP), and thus has overall responsibility for CEMP program development and implementation. In an emergency or disaster, OEM coordinates essential VA emergency medical response and support services at the local, regional, and national levels to ensure the health and safety of our Veteran patients and their families, staff, and visitors, and continued delivery of VHA health care services.

5 Phases of CEMP


Field Programs

Response Programs

5 Phases of Emergnecy Management5 Phases of CEMP

In the VHA Comprehensive Emergency Management Program (CEMP), OEM addresses all five phases of emergency management cycle:


Prevention = actions taken to decrease the likelihood that an event or crisis will occur. OEM seek to prevent or dimish the liklihood of crisis through a process of hazard identification and risk assessment.

 = efforts to reduce the impact of disasters.  OEM programs evaluate facility resiliency and fund improvements to critical systems that keep facilities operating in disasters. 

Preparedness = development of plans, resources, and capabilities to manage and recover from the impacts of disasters.  OEM programs assess capabilities; establish policy and guidance; train staff and promote best practices; coordinate execises to test capabilities; provide systems, equipment, and funding to ensure VHA is properly equipped.

Response = activities to stop and reverse the adverse effects of disasters or emergencies on services and operations.  OEM coordinates VHA response and recovery operations in support of affected VHA facilities by providing assistance in the form of resources, critical commodities and utlities, communicatons, personnel, and response teams.  OEM also delivers and coordinates VHA support to our nation's communities affected by nationally-declared disasters.

Recovery = both short and long term restoration of the capabilities impacted by emergencies and disasters.  OEM response support operations transition to recovery support operations once the hazards of the disaster have been stabilized.  Long term recovery may require alternate or improved facilities, which links to mitigation. It also includes analysis of lessons learned for improvement of response capabilities, which links to preparedness.

A patient reception exercise in Little Rock, ARImprovement

VHA's Comprehensive Emergency Management Program (CEMP) focuses on improving VHA disaster resiliency and response capabilities.  


CEMP elements focusing on improving the capabilities include:

  • Exercise development & coordination 
  • Training 
  • Developing and expanding resilient communcations 
  • Developing situational awareness communications systems
  • Performance Improvement Management System (PIMS) 
  • Fielding response and recovery assets and equipment 
  • Quality Program ensures ongoing improvement of CEMP



OEM Area Emergency Manager, Cosme Torres, provides on-site guidanceField Programs

OEM's Field Program staff located throught the nation provide direct assistance and support to VHA facilities and networks for the enhancement of emergency program capabilities and to provide disaster response support when needed.


Components of this program include:

  • Field Services Program 
    • On-site assistance
    • On-site training
    • Capabilities Assessment Program 
    • Exercise coordination
    • Coordinating National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) patient reception operations


Little Rock VAMC patient reception teams provide care to Hurricane Ike evacueesResponse Programs

OEM delivers and coordinates VHA support missions for VHA facilites affected by disasters, and also performs missions assigned to VA by FEMA or US Dept. of Health & Human Services for response to and recovery from nationally-declared emergencies and disasters. 

OEM's capabilities for response & recovery include:

  • Coordination of VHA-level incident response operations 
  • Patient reception under the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) 
  • Mobilization of support personnel through DEMPS
  • Mobilization of mobile response/recovery assets 
  • Mobilization of VHA's incident management & response teams 
  • Coordinating resource sharing within VHA through the Emergency Mobile Asset inventory (EMAI)

Comprehensive Emergency Management Program (CEMP)

OEM provides a full range of support to VHA facilities and Headquarters Program Offices--across all 5 phases of emergency response--to ensure resiliency, continuity and rapid recovery of VHA healthcare services to our nation's veterans during disasters and other potential disruptions to healthcare service delivery.

  • Expertise
  • Policy & planning guidance
  • VHA emergency operations plans
  • Response personnel & teams
  • Funding
  • Equipment
  • Systems and processes
  • Communications
  • Training
  • On-site support
  • Program assessment 
  • Exercise coordination & development