NORFOLK, Va. – Hurricane season kicks off on June 1. The National Weather Service has predicated an active year for Hampton Roads with an increased number of tropical storms and hurricanes.
Emergency Preparedness and Response Director Jim Redick said hurricanes bring heavy rains and winds, along with flooding. He said every storm is handled with as much preparation as possible, but there are some things families need to know.
- Pack a kit: Hurricane preparedness kits should include water, prescriptions, a written list of contacts, canned foods and a manual can opener, a first aid kit, flashlight, radio, etc.
- Stay informed: being able to get information from the city/state/NWS could save your life. The City of Norfolk has launched the Norfolk Alert System which will send updates about city emergency plans, evacuation routes, etc. to your phone.
(to sign up for alerts text Norfolk VA to 888-777)
- Have a plan: families need to talk about evacuation plans or practice the ones that the city is currently conducting.
Families that live in surge zones are most at risk during periods of heavy rain and flooding so the city is starting to exercise emergency evacuation trials to see what works and what does not. They have held one practice so far, but plan to do 5-6 exercises for each ward in Norfolk.
Norfolk is fortunate enough to have a CERT, or Certified Emergency Response Team, made up of about 200 volunteers. The city has trained them in emergency first-aid, response and damage control for situations like severe weather.
CERT could use more members and to get more information you can contact the Emergency Operations Center at 757-441-5600.
Redick said the emergency plans are a team effort between multiple local civilian and military agencies. He said it is a constant communication between agencies about the current system in order to address all issues and continuously prepare for storms.