Virginians Urged to Prepare for Hurricane Season

May 19, 2015  //  

VDEM Press Release

10501 Trade Court
Richmond, Virginia 23226

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 20, 2015

CONTACT: Dawn Eischen
(804)  897-6510 or (804) 674-2400
Dawn.Eischen@vdem.virginia.gov

Virginians Urged to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Purchase supplies May 25-31 during the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginians are at risk for the damaging effects of coastal and inland tropical storm systems and widespread flooding. To emphasize the importance of preparing for hurricane season, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has recognized May 24-30 as Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week.

“It’s critical that every Virginian take hurricane season seriously and understand how they could be affected by flooding, high winds and tornadoes during this time of year,” said State Coordinator Dr. Jeff Stern. “Those who live along coastal areas also need to learn how storm surge could affect them so that they know what to do when tropical systems are approaching. Your safety and the safety of your loved ones depend on getting ready before a hurricane or tropical storm hits.”

“The prediction of a below normal hurricane season should not be taken to mean Virginia won’t be impacted this year,” said Bill Sammler, NWS warning coordination meteorologist. “Let’s all remember that it only takes one storm to cause severe damage and even loss of life. Everyone should get ready now for this hurricane season.”

Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday May 25-31 will provide Virginians with an opportunity to buy emergency equipment and supplies tax-free. All Virginia retailers participate in the holiday. Among the items that are exempt from sales tax are batteries including cell phone batteries, flashlights and lanterns, bottled water of all types and sizes, first aid kits, coolers, NOAA Weather Radios, portable generators and many other useful items. For more on the sales tax holiday, including a list of tax-exempt items, visit www.vaemergency.gov.

How to Prepare
Among the most important actions people can take toward disaster preparedness are:

  • Download the free Ready Virginia app for iPhone® and Android™. Features:
    • Weather warnings issued for your location by the National Weather Service
    • A customizable emergency plan that can be easily shared with family and friends
    • A checklist for gathering emergency supplies
    • “I’m Safe!” feature that allows you to quickly send a text message to let family and friends know you are safe
    •  Interactive map that allows you to find the maximum storm surge risk at your current location or an address entered in the search bar
  • Create a family emergency communications plan.
    • Decide how and where everyone will meet up with each other if separated
    • Choose an out-of-town emergency contact for your family and give that person’s phone number to each family member
    • Make a sheet of emergency contacts and post it in visible places in your home and workplace. Don’t rely on your smart phone or online contact lists.
    • Get a free emergency plan worksheet at www.ReadyVirginia.gov or www.ListoVirginia.gov or use the new Ready Virginia app.
  • Sign up for text alerts/weather warnings that may be offered by your locality.
  • Talk to an insurance agent about flood insurance.
    • Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flooding; renters and business owners also can get flood insurance.
    • Just one inch of water in a mid-size home or office can mean $20,000 in repairs.
    • Go to www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419 for more information.
    • Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before your policy goes into effect.

People with disabilities or access and functional needs may need to take additional steps. Plan how to handle power outages and/or being asked to evacuate. See www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/getakit/disabilities

The governor’s proclamation of May 24-30 as Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week coincides with National Hurricane Preparedness Week, sponsored by the National Weather Service.

Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund