Within the past few years, Virginians have been experiencing severe weather of all types; everything from a Derecho, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding, and hurricanes to heavy and often crippling snowfalls. Planning ahead is the key to increasing chances of survival during an emergency. By following a few simple and low-cost steps, you can prepare and protect your family, business, neighborhood and community when emergencies and disasters arise.
Stay Informed & Get Alerts. Getting reliable information during an emergency situation is vital. The National Weather Service broadcasts warnings and post-event information 24 hours a day for all types of hazards – including natural (severe weather), environmental (chemical release or oil spill) and public safety (amber alert or 911 outage). Make sure you do the following:
- Have a NOAA Weather Radio at home and at your worksite. Like a fire alarm, NOAA Weather Radios sound when there is an emergency in your area.
- Register on the County’s emergency notification system – PWCAN – to receive emergency information. It’s easy and free. Go to www.pwcgov.org/pwcan.
Make a family emergency plan. When a disaster occurs, your family may not be at home or together. Make sure everyone knows how to get in touch and where to go.
- Designate a safe-room in the house where everyone can gather. The best choice is an inside room above ground with few windows and doors.
- Choose an out-of-town emergency contact. Families may not be together when an emergency happens, and often it’s easier to make a long distance call than a local call during emergencies. The out-of-town contact can relay messages to other family members that you’re ok.
- Select a safe gathering place outside of town where everyone can meet if evacuation is necessary.
- Familiarize yourself with emergency plans for places where you and your family may be located such as schools, day care providers, and businesses.
- You can design your family emergency plan at www.ReadyNOVA.org or get a family emergency plan worksheet at www.ReadyVirginia.gov.
Make an Emergency Supply Kit! Below is a list of essential items for your emergency supply kit:
o Food that won’t spoil, such as canned goods and packaged foods
o Water, at least one gallon per person per day
o Essential medications
- Other items useful in an emergency supply kit:
o A NOAA Weather radio
o A hand-crank or battery-powered AM/FM radio and extra batteries
o A family emergency plan
o Flashlights with extra batteries
o First aid kit
o List of prescriptions and doctors
o Special items for young children and disabled or older family members
o Food and water for your pets
To learn more on how to protect you and your loved ones during an emergency, visit www.pwcgov.org/emergency, www.ReadyVirginia.gov and www.ready.gov.