The Resource !UNKNOWN LABEL
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- Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into World War II, the federal and state governments took measures to protect the citizenry against enemy attack. The General Assembly passed a civilian defense act on 11 February 1942, establishing the Office of Civilian Defense to organize a system of self-protection for the state and its residents.
- The office established a statewide network of observation posts for volunteer aircraft spotters and created emergency medical and evacuation procedures. Civilian morale was raised by the encouragement of victory gardens and salvage drives and by providing assistance to servicemen and their families. With the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945 the need for the office came to an end. On 19 November 1945, Governor Colgate W. Darden, Jr., issued an executive order abolishing the office effective 1 January 1946.
- The dawn of the atomic age and the beginning of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, led Governor John S. Battle on 18 July 1950 to issue an executive order re-establishing the Office of Civilian Defense (renamed Office of Civil Defense by the Civil Defense Act of 1952). "The uncertanties of the present international situation," Battle wrote, "that...the civilian population of Virginia should be prepared to take such steps as may be necessary to protect itself...in the event of presently unforseen exigencies." Battle appointed Joseph H. Wyse, who directed Virginia's civilian defense organizations during World War II, as Civil Defense Co-ordinator.
- During the 1950s and 1960s, Virginia's civil defense plan was geared toward the protection of civilian lives in the event of war and restoration of communities and industrial facilities in the event of thermonuclear war. The Emergency Services and Disaster Act of 1973 shifted the agency's focus away from nuclear disaster and toward other types of natural and man-made disasters. It repealed the 1952 act and replaced the Office of Civil Defense with the Office of Emergency Services, led by a State Coordinator of Civil Defense appointed by the Governor. The purpose of the new Office was to "insure that preparations of the State and its political subdivisions will be adequate to deal with...emergencies, and generally to provide for the common defense and to protect the public peace, health and safety, and to preserve the lives and property and economic well-being of the people of the State." Some of the duties of the State Coordinator are: prepare and maintain a State Emergency Operations Plan relating to man-made and natural disasters; coordinate and administer preparedness programs with Federal, State and local government agencies;and provide guidance and assistance to local governments in designing local emergency programs and plans. During a declared emergency operational control of this agency reverts to the Governor.
- The Dept. of Emergency Management has undergone several name changes since 1973. In 1974 the agency's name was changed to State Office of Emergency Services. On 14 March 1978, Governor John N. Dalton issued an executive order assigning the functions of the State Energy Office to the State Office of Emergency Services. The agency was renamed the State Office of Emergency and Energy Services. The name was changed to Department of Emergency Services in 1985 and to Department of Emergency Management in 2000.
- Today, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management works closely with local government, state and federal agencies (such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and voluntary organizations to provide resources and expertise in the event of a disaster. They offer disaster guidance in four areas: preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.
- Cataloging source
- Citation source
- Salmon, John S., comp. A GUIDE TO STATE RECORDS IN THE ARCHIVES BRANCH OF THE VIRGINIA BRANCH OF THE VIRGINIA STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES. Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1985
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