Jeffrey Caldwell 804-786-2715
(804) 337-7264 cell
May 14, 2008
VDOT COMMITS TO RENEWED FOCUS ON EMERGENCY RESPONSE
Issues Long-Term Emergency Response Improvement Plan
The report, shared with the Commonwealth Transportation Board at its meeting today, outlines 13 action steps to refocus VDOT on its vital role as an emergency response agency.
“Today we commit to the citizens of Virginia that we will live up to their expectations that VDOT, like fire departments and law-enforcement agencies, will provide critical emergency services during all unforeseen events,” said Commissioner David S. Ekern. “Our core mission includes keeping Virginians safe during inclement weather and other emergency events, and we will deliver on that responsibility.”
Following a Feb. 12 ice storm that effectively shut down Northern Virginia’s Springfield Interchange for nine hours, VDOT is working to review its entire emergency response program to identify organizational hurdles, policy roadblocks, equipment shortfalls and training challenges that hindered its ability to swiftly respond to emergency events.
The long-term action plan released today was developed with input from transportation professionals, law-enforcement and EMS agencies, neighboring jurisdictions and the public.
The action items address:
- Improving communications capabilities within VDOT and between emergency response agencies
Remodeling, renewing and relocating emergency response equipment to be more effective
Establishing the first-of-its-kind emergency response institute to train transportation crews in emergency procedures
Adopting industry best practices for emergency response and snow-and-ice removal
Expanding VDOT’s five regional traffic management centers into transportation operations centers that function as emergency response hubs
Breaking down geographic barriers to emergency response with consistent statewide efforts focused on the 23,000 miles of critical highways
Improving technology and traveler information to keep motorists informed about changing traffic conditions and emergency events while they are on the road and at home
- Overcoming administrative barriers that hinder field operations and emergency response activities
Implementing the action items in this plan will result in:
- Improved communications with the public
- Institutionalizing the National Incident Management System practices
Adoption of industry best practices
Implementation of training to support VDOT’s emergency response professionals
- Improved coordination with local, state and federal agencies involved in incident response
“This effort will not come without a cost,” Ekern told the Commonwealth Transportation Board. “However, this is a commitment worth making because it will significantly improve the safety of every Virginian traveling on our transportation network and will protect the quality of life throughout the commonwealth for years to come.”
To learn more about how VDOT responds to emergencies, and to read the plan in its entirety, visit http://www.virginiadot.org/about/emer_response.asp
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.