First, understand the terms. The National Weather Service issues alerts when dangerous weather conditions can potentially affect an area, or are in immediate danger of affecting an area.
A watch is used when there is a risk of hazardous weather (thunderstorm, tornado or flooding). When a watch is issued, keep an eye on the weather. Be ready to enact your plan if it becomes necessary to do so.
A warning is issued when hazardous weather (thunderstorm, tornado or flooding) is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring. A warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property. When a thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued, take cover on the lowest level of your home, in an interior room. If your home is in danger of flooding, move to higher ground immediately.
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No matter what disaster or incident occurs, emergency management involves a constantly revolving cycle of four key elements:
Chesterfield County is susceptible to a variety of threats, both man-made and natural. Examples of these include but are not limited to:
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911. You can report non-emergencies to 804-748-1251.
Natural events may be more predictable depending on seasonal weather patterns. They also often give us time to prepare as most, but not all, escalate from smaller events. Examples of natural disasters include wind events such as hurricanes and tropical storms, tornadoes, ice/snow storms, and severe thunder storms.
Man-made emergencies are less predictable and often occur without warning with a faster speed of onset. Examples of man-made events include chemical or hazardous material spills, hostage situations, or acts of terrorism.
Hurricane season is June 1st through November 30th in the Atlantic and May 15th through November 30th in the Eastern Pacific. However, it is possible for tropical storms to occur outside of those date ranges.
Chesterfield County residents need to prepare now for emergencies and disasters. There are simple, low-cost steps families can take to be ready including:
You can also visit sites such as Ready.gov, the FEMA website, Ready Virginia, and Weather.gov for additional information.
There should be enough supplies in your disaster kit to make each member of your family self-sufficient for at least three days. This should include:
Visit the Get a Kit page for more information.
You should go to any public school that can be used as a shelter. High schools are chosen first because of their available resources. Other criteria for opening a school for a shelter would include proximity to the event. Be sure to take items such as medications, blankets, clothes, and identification to the shelter.
Sign up for Chesterfield Alert for information about shelters before, during and after an emergency event.
During and after a disaster local infrastructure could become disrupted. Local phone lines may be inundated with calls, while long distance phone lines remain open. It may be easier to reach out-of-town contacts that have not been affected by the incident.
Make sure you keep a card with contact numbers and names with your kit, as well as in your cars. A pre-paid, long distance phone card may also be a good idea.
Like humans, pets will need food and other supplies in the event of an emergency. Make sure you have the following available:
Make copies of all vaccinations and medical records as well.
Pets brought to emergency shelters are taken to the county’s animal shelter and will be cared for in an area separate from the daily animal population until it is safe for residents to take their pets home.
You are to remain in your home or office (wherever you are at the time of the emergency) and protect yourself there. You should also do the following:
Libraries will be utilized as information stations during a disaster. Additional county-specific disaster information will be posted to the county website. Chesterfield County is also on Facebook. “Like” our page and you will receive county-specific information there as well.
The Emergency Operations Center is where the Emergency Management Coordinator and other key individuals meet during a disaster. With a central location, all individuals involved in making decisions reference the response and recovery from a particular incident coordinate their efforts.
Yes, the county has an emergency operations plan (PDF). State Law requires that it be updated annually and readopted every 4 years.
In the event that an emergency happens in Chesterfield County, volunteer organizations will likely be deployed to assist citizens and help with the recovery process. To get involved and volunteer:
The first choice would be to have a family member or caregiver take your relative someplace that will support his or her needs. After a disaster, libraries or other county facilities may be opened to allow for recharging the batteries in medical equipment. If someone is experiencing a medical problem due to the loss of power, he or she should call 911.
Facilities covered by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requirements must submit an Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Form (Tier II) to the following:
Facilities located in Chesterfield County submit Tier II reports to:Fire and Emergency Medical Service6731 Mimms LoopChesterfield, VA 23832
You can call the Emergency Management Coordinator at 804-796-7068.