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VDEM designates May 15-19 as Hurricane Preparedness Week

This update was published by Communications
Published: May 15, 2023

RICHMOND – The week of May 15-19, 2023, has been designated by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) as Hurricane Preparedness Week. The official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season is June 1. However, VDEM officials want to let residents and visitors to the commonwealth recognize the importance of planning how to respond to the threat of a severe storm or hurricane.

“It is never too early to prepare for the impact of tropical weather,” said State Coordinator Shawn Talmadge. “Tropical systems are a statewide concern, not just a coastal concern. All Virginians need to be prepared.”

Here are some important tips to ensure your safety before, during, and after severe weather.

Make a plan:

  • If you need to evacuate, you can move faster if you’ve already thought about what to do.
  • Determine in advance where you’ll go and your evacuation route(s).
  • Know how you’ll communicate and reconnect if your family isn’t together when a storm hits.

Make a kit:

  • Have emergency food, water, and other supplies to last at least 72 hours.
  • A good time to build your kit is when there isn’t an imminent threat.
  • Take the needs of individual family members, like seniors, babies, and pets, into consideration.
  • A list of suggested items can be found at

Prepare your home:

  • Before a hurricane, you’ll need to prepare your home by cleaning out drains and gutters, checking the yard, and removing or securing anything that could become a projectile, like bicycles, planters, grills, and lawn furniture.
  • Cover doors and windows.
  • Check your carbon monoxide (CO) detector’s battery.
  • For these and other tips, visit

Purchase or renew flood insurance:

  • It typically takes up to 30 days for a flood insurance policy to go into effect, so it’s better not to wait until a storm is imminent.
  • People often don’t realize until it’s too late that separate policies are needed for protection against wind and flood damage because a regular homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover them.

Know your evacuation zone:

  • The Virginia Department of Emergency Management designed evacuation zones for all coastal regions to simplify the process of determining whether a resident should evacuate or shelter at home in an emergency based on their address. Look up evacuation zones at

Stay informed:

  • Sign up for emergency alerts from your local office of emergency management and know where to get the latest information.

For more information, go to our website at


For more information, please contact us at

Agency Contact

Deputy Director of Communications