Category Archives: Preparedness

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 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 and

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.


Be Prepared by “Being in the Know”

This is our final week of Preparedness Month and daily blog posts. In previous weeks, we talked about being prepared at the College, making an emergency plan, and making an emergency kit. This final week we will discuss how to be prepared for specific emergencies that are common to our area.

You frequently hear NOVA’s Office of Emergency Management and Safety encourage you to prepare and plan for “insert emergency here.” It can be confusing to recall recommended actions during different types of emergencies to keep yourself safe. If only there was an app to help us remember various emergency preparedness tips!

While there are many apps out there providing emergency information, two are highlighted below that provide great information to help you be prepared for various emergencies.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) App

  • Receive fast and reliable weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations nationwide.
  • Learn how to prepare for emergencies and useful tips to keep you and your loved ones safe before, during and after disasters.
  • Prepare your emergency kit, make a family plan, and set reminders.
  • Locate open shelters and disaster resource centers near you.
  • Submit photos of damage in your area to help first responders.

American Red Cross Apps

  • Several apps that provide tools and preparedness information you need every day.
  • Apps include: first aid, pet first aid, tornado, hurricane, earthquake, flood, and many others.
  • Monster Guard app for kids aged 7-11 that teaches preparedness for real-life emergencies at home.

Additionally, there are two websites the Office of Emergency Management and Safety recommends to review. – Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is a tool to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. – Sponsored by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management
Discover how to best prepare for natural disasters and emergencies impacting Virginia and how to find resources for recovery action plans.

Your local jurisdictions also provide location-specific alerting for residents and guests within their jurisdictions. Sign up today to receive local alerts—including traffic, weather, and more—where you live:

Remember – emergency preparedness starts with YOU and can save your life! Take the time to review this information prior to an emergency so you will be prepared to ACT.