Category Archives: Natural Disasters

Be Prepared – Hurricanes and High Winds

In the final daily September Preparedness Month blog post, we conclude with a video message from Virginia Ralph Northam.

Every year, the Northern Virginia region experiences a varying degree of heavy rains and strong winds from storms, tropical storms, and even hurricanes. The storm’s high winds may even spawn tornadoes—like we saw when the remanence of Hurricane Florence traveled through Richmond, Virginia a few weeks ago.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. We still have a long way to go until this year’s hurricane season is over!

Please review the Virginia Hurricane Preparedness Guide as well as additional resources on the website including: how to build an emergency kit, and tornado and flood preparedness. It is important to prepare your family, home, and office before a storm arrives.

Be Prepared – Earthquake

Who thought we would talk about earthquake preparedness on the east coast?The 2011 Louisa Quake in Virginia was felt across more than a dozen states and by more people than any other earthquake in U.S. history. An estimated 1/3 of the U.S. population felt the quake, and damage was reported as far away as Brooklyn, New York!

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management provides an Earthquake Preparedness Guide that provides great tips for before, during, and after an earthquake. Take a few minutes to download the guide and be prepared!

 

Be Prepared – Flooding

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, and this is especially true for us in Northern Virginia. Take the time to prepare now:

  • Know your area’s type of flood risk. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov/portal for information.
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • If flash flooding is a risk in your location, monitor potential signs such as heavy rain.
  • Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response.
  • Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
  • Obtain flood insurance. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
  • Protect your property. Move valued items to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.

For more information about flood preparedness, visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/Floods and https://www.ready.gov/floods.

Be Prepared – Tornado

When you think of tornadoes, do you think they mainly only occur in the mid-west? Virginia has a long history of tornado activity–most recently last week when multiple tornadoes touched down in Richmond and several other Virginia areas. Several homes and business received significant damage and one fatality occurred. Tornadoes are not to be taken lightly!

Seconds count during tornadoes, so make sure you plan ahead. Have supplies in your home. Practice your plan with your family.  You should never question what to do when a tornado warning occurs–you should KNOW what to do because you prepared ahead. The video in this blog post highlights important tips to be prepared.

If a tornado warning  occurs while at NOVA, please follow the procedures outlined in the College Emergency Action Plan.

 

Make a Family Emergency Communications Plan

Creating your Family Emergency Communication Plan starts with one simple question: “What if?”

“What if something happens and I’m not with my family?” “Will I be able to reach them?” “How will I know they are safe?” “How can I let them know I’m OK?” During a disaster, you will need to send and receive information from your family.

Communication networks, such as mobile phones and computers, could be unreliable during disasters, and electricity could be disrupted. Planning in advance will help ensure that all the members of your household know how to reach each other and where to meet up in an emergency. Planning starts with three easy steps:

Step 1: Collect – Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people/offices, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools, or service providers.

Step 2: Share – Download and fill out the Family Emergency Communication Plan Fillable Card Template. When printed, it folds in a wallet-sized card for everyone in your family to carry in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator. First responders are actually trained to look on your refrigerator for this information!

Step 3: Practice – Have regular household meetings to review and practice your plan.

For more detailed information and tips for completing these steps, download the Family Emergency Communication Guide and learn how to keep your family prepared.