~ State officials, public safety and emergency response agencies conduct disaster preparedness exercise and encourage Virginians to prepare now ~
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam and his cabinet participated in a day-long exercise yesterday that focused on disaster preparedness and how to ready all Virginia state agencies for hurricanes or other natural and manmade-disasters.
The Governor and his cabinet heard a presentation from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on lessons learned from Hurricane Florence and the devastation and long-term recovery efforts still underway in the state. They were also briefed by experts at Old Dominion University that recently completed a study of the economic impact on the Commonwealth if Florence had not turned south and instead struck Virginia directly. The day culminated in a hurricane preparation exercise to test executive decision making protocol and state agency emergency response readiness.
“My administration is working hard to ensure that Virginia is resilient and ready to respond to any natural disaster,” said Governor Northam. “The impacts from tropical storm systems can pose threats to life and property in every region of the Commonwealth, and that’s why it’s important for all Virginians to take proactive steps now to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.”
Virginians are encouraged to use the start of hurricane season to make preparations to sustain themselves during and after a hurricane or other extreme weather events. Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.
“Hurricanes can devastate the entire state with storm surges, inland, river and flash flooding, damaging winds, landslides, dam failures, and tornadoes,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran. “Storms also have the ability to disrupt communication networks and produce prolonged power outages. Power interruptions, extreme heat, transportation networks, and communication system disruption can compound the effects of a hurricane for weeks. It is critical to have a plan and make preparations now to address your family’s unique needs and circumstances.”
HOW TO PREPARE
If you live in coastal Virginia, learn your hurricane evacuation zone, review evacuation routes and the Commonwealth’s Hurricane Evacuation Guide at KnowYourZoneVA.org. Coastal Virginians can also call 2-1-1 to learn their evacuation zone if they do not have access to a computer or internet services. Residents not residing in a pre-identified evacuation zone should listen to evacuation orders from local and state emergency agencies to determine if and when to evacuate.
All Virginians, regardless of where you live or work, should review the Hurricane Preparedness Guide at VAemergency.gov/hurricanes.
Hurricanes can produce significant statewide flooding, and just one inch of water in a home or business can cost thousands of dollars in cleanup and repairs. Most property insurance policies do not cover flood losses including those damages that result from flash floods, dam breaks, storm surges, inland flooding, and river flooding.
Don’t wait until you see the next storm coming to purchase a flood insurance policy—these policies have a 30-day waiting period before taking effect. Contact your insurance agent or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) call center at 888-379-9531 for an agent referral or visit floodsmart.gov.
To learn to how to prepare for and recover from a flood visit VAemergency.gov/floods. It can take several days or weeks for government services and assistance to reach you and your family depending on the severity of the disaster and your geographic location. Purchasing emergency supplies and building an emergency kit to sustain your family during and after a hurricane is critical. Visit VAemergency.gov/emergency-kit to review the checklist of supplies for your family and pets and to build a family emergency communication plan.