Our History

16 years of building a coordinated emergency preparedness system

Following the events of September 11, 2001, the leaders of Northern Virginia recognized the need for a unified and coordinated approach to emergency preparedness within the region. The Northern Virginia Emergency Response System was started in 2005 as the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS).

The MMRS grant program outlined planning parameters, or capabilities, associated with response to chemical, biological, radiological, and improvised explosive device events, as well as supported a pharmaceutical cache and exercises for the region.

In 2007, the Northern Virginia regional MMRS effort was rebranded Northern Virginia Emergency Response System, to focus on the comprehensive emergency response system, including the medical aspect, and to solidify the development of a new program. This new program was administered by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission. At this time, representatives from the various jurisdictions and public safety disciplines began meeting regularly to discuss regional gaps and identify solutions that crossed jurisdictional and disciplinary boundaries.

In 2011, the Northern Virginia Hospital Alliance (NVHA) assumed the role of administering NVERS on an interim basis. In 2014, the Chief Executives of the local governments decided to convert NVERS into a not-for-profit organization. This organizational change reflected the desire to create a sustainable organization that would continue to benefit the region beyond the life cycle of the Urban Area Security Initiative grant. In 2015, NVERS was granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS. Today, regional partners meet monthly to discuss common operational problems, events which affect the region, and strategies to address regional challenges.


Today, NVERS builds emergency preparedness capacity and capabilities across most of Northern Virginia, comprised of 25 localities and 3.2 million residents. We are recognized nationally as a leader among coalitions driving terrorism preparedness.

A Nonprofit Organization

As a nonprofit organization, we have:

  • Greater flexibility in our programming to meet the changing preparedness needs of our members
  • Greater accountability to the stakeholders we serve
  • Continued access to federal funding streams
  • Lowered administrative costs, resulting in more efficient use of funding
  • Streamlined processes for managing staff, finances, and operations
  • Opportunities to build new revenue streams and growth of financial support from membership organizations