Disaster Preparedness


We never know when disaster may strike. The best way to get prepare for a disaster is to make plans and look ahead. Resources are available from our partners, in addition to these articles by our staff:

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a wealth of preparedness videos on hurricane evacuations, lists of emergency supplies, and additional information available at www.ReadyVirginia.gov and www.ListoVirginia.gov (en Español).

Before and During the Storm

Hurricane Safety Checklist – Review this Hurricane Safety Checklist from the American Red Cross to prepare for the dangers of a hurricane.

Compile an Emergency Kit – Use this downloadable checklist to ensure you have necessary supplies on hand.

Evacuate or Stay Put – Listen to the local authorities via your local radio or television and follow their guidance. If you have not been asked to evacuate, determine whether your home or work is safe.

Track the Storm – Follow NOAA on Facebook or Twitter (@NOAA) to get updates on severe weather systems.

Closings and Cancellations in Hampton Roads – View the latest closing and cancellations as the result of disaster.

FloodSmart Community Resources

Red Cross Disaster Safety Checklist

Homeowner’s Guide to Lightning Safety

Subscribe to Alert Services

Many communities have developed emergency alert systems that will send text messages or emails alerting you to local emergencies or bad weather. Check the community information page to find ways that you can be alerted for hurricane situations or sign up for local alerts:

Preparing for Power Outages

Dominion Power suggests updating your account with the phone number you plan to use when reporting your outage. This step will ensure immediate access of your account for faster reporting without having to speak to someone. Phone numbers can be updated on-line or by calling the special phone number update line (800.222.0401), help line at 866.DOM.HELP or 866.366.4357 to report outages or downed lines (dial 211 for general information about the storms).

Charge Cell Phones and Laptops. Make sure cell phones and laptops are fully charged so they can be used in the event of a power outage.

During the storm, if electricity is interrupted. Dominion Power offers these practical tips for dealing with power outages during the storm:

  • Turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves.
  • Unplug other major appliances, such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers, to prevent damage and a possible overload when power is restored.
  • Post a list of contents on your freezer door to minimize the number of times you open it.
  • Leave one lamp or light on so you will be able to recognize when power is restored.
  • Frozen food can last up to three days. It is safe to eat if it still has ice crystals at the center.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation if using portable lanters or camp-type stoves for light and cooking.

After the Storm

Coping with power outages. This site from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights healthy steps you should take to ensure food, water, and home safety after an extended power outage. Tips on the site address everything from guidelines on what to do with food in your freezer or refrigerator, to water purification procedures, to carbon monoxide poisoning protection.

Get Up-to-the-Minute Updates on Twitter. Follow Dominion Power (@DomVaPower) and Southeastern Virginia’s Red Cross (@RedCrossSEVA) for regular updates and alerts after the storm.

Servicing your septic system. Once storm waters have receded, there are several things homeowners should consider regarding their septic systems. This site from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers frequently asked questions and answers on servicing septic systems after flooding. The site also includes links to contact information if assistance is needed from local health departments.

Managing flooding and mold. This site from the Environmental Protection Agency is dedicated to providing information on cleaning up your home or office after a storm that has resulted in flooding, including addressing standing water and wet materials. The site offers basic information on addressing viruses, bacteria, and mold that can occur in the wake of a flood.

Removing fallen branches and trees. The CDC provides tips to help safeguard against injury as a result of removing fallen or partially fallen trees and tree branches, including information on properly using chainsaws in hazardous conditions.

Saving family treasures. These guidelines from The National Archives will walk you through preserving some of your family’s most treasured items that may have been damaged by flood waters. The guidelines range in topics from what do to with wet records, to salvaging family papers, to properly air-drying books, to caring for water damaged heirlooms.

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