The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) is the first U.S. territory to earn a conditional accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), the agency announced in a recent press release.
EMAP is an independent, non-profit organization that accredits agencies that comply with their Emergency Management Standards, which provide for management and coordination of prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery activities for all hazards. The accreditation process was a rigorous program that included a set of 66 standards by which the agency was evaluated, according to the press release.
After a lengthy accreditation process that began in earnest in 2020, the conditional accreditation has been granted in recognition of the tremendous strides that VITEMA has made and the remaining 14 steps that must be completed. As is typical with the approval of conditional accreditation, VITEMA will have an additional nine months to become compliant with the 14 outstanding requirements, the press release stated.
“We cannot overstate what a tremendous accomplishment this represents. This accreditation signifies that the Government of the Virgin Islands — along with our lead Emergency Support Function Agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations key stakeholders, and Legislative and Judicial branch integration — has demonstrated the ability to meet or exceed national standards for emergency management through this standardized program of self-assessment, documentation, and peer review. We have always been committed not only to being responsive to our community’s needs in the event of a disaster or hazard but also, critically, to being prepared. With our dedicated team, led by Deputy Director Regina Browne for this effort, VITEMA stands even more ready to lead the territory’s coordinated responses to any and all hazards, natural or manmade,” VITEMA Director Daryl Jaschen said.
“This is an excellent milestone for our territory,” adds VITEMA Deputy Director Regina Browne. “And we would not have accomplished this achievement without the support and guidance of Director Jaschen as well as senior leadership throughout the assessment and supplemental periods. A very special thank you to the planning and preparedness staff for their assistance in managing the overall accreditation process. On behalf of the VITEMA team, I would also like to say a major thank you to the British Virgin Islands Department of Disaster Management’s Director Jasen Penn and Deputy Director Sheniah Armstrong, who, with their first-hand EMAP experience, supported us throughout this process. Additionally, Consult Universal LLC’s assigned staff provided continuous support to our agency with all the necessary documentation needed to accomplish achieving the standard compliances. This truly was a team process and everyone played a vital role,” she said.