VIRGINIA BEACH – September is National Preparedness Month and the perfect time to get ready for disasters and emergencies, said Erin Sutton, director of Emergency Management for the City of Virginia Beach.
“Have a plan, get a kit and stay informed,” Sutton said.
The theme this year of preparedness month is: Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.
And with the hurricane season coming to life, now is the time to prepare for one.
“Sometimes it’s easier to break it down in small pieces,” she said, such as:
- Pick a day to discuss sheltering or evacuating with your family and on another day identify where you would go if you evacuated and plan your route.
- One evening over dinner, identify who would be your out-of-town point of contact.
- On each of your grocery visits add a couple extra items to your cart for your emergency kit and emergency supplies.
Sutton added that it’s important to know where you live in relation to elevation and flooding patterns, and, barring an evacuation order, whether you plan to ride out a hurricane in-place or go inland away from the coast and to higher ground.
“If you plan to stay, make sure you’re planning for at least 72-96 hours on your own, since emergency responders and city services may be stretched thin,” Sutton said.
She said the main thing is to have the ability to remain informed about what’s happening, even if the power goes out and the traditional media outlets are inaccessible.
Residents should have the ability to keep their cellphones charged and perhaps even have a dedicated weather radio for receiving emergency messages and warnings.
It’s been a quiet hurricane season so far, with only Tropical Storm Gordon impacting the U.S., but Hurricane Florence is growing stronger in the middle of the Atlantic and heading west.
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However, the Weather Channel reported on Sept. 4 that they’re watching weather patterns shaping up for next week near the U.S. and western Atlantic Basin that could guide tropical storms and potential hurricanes west instead of north and away from the coast.
For more information on planning for emergencies, including hurricanes, visit the City of Virginia Beach’s emergency preparedness website, the national ready.gov website, and for hurricane planning specifically, the National Hurricane Center’s website.