Emergency Preparedness

Disasters happen when we least expect them. Planning and preparing for emergencies of all types helps individuals and communities to have the best outcomes possible. 

Here are a few tips to help you and your family get started:

Make A Plan
  • Make a plan today. Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes. It’s important to know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
  • Put a plan together by discussing the questions below with your family, friends, or household.
  • It is important to consider individual circumstances and needs to effectively prepare for emergencies and disasters.
    • Build an emergency store of prescription and non-prescription medications.
    • Create a support network of people who can help in a disaster.
    • If you have medical equipment requiring electricity register with your power company for consideration for quicker restoration.
    • Keep a list of pertinent medical information and prescriptions for responders or if you need to evacuate.
Build A Kit
  • Following a disaster, whether natural or man-made, power outages hazardous driving conditions, and short-term supply shortages are common. You will need to be able to survive on your own until conditions improve.  Prepare now by gathering enough food, water, a first aid kit, and medication for at least 3 days so you can stay safely at home.  Don’t forget your family pets!  
  • Once you cover the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as the age of family members, special dietary needs, access, disabilities, and functional needs.
    • After assembling your kit, remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:
    • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
    • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers.
    • Replace expired items as needed.
    • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your household’s needs change.
    • Make sure to also add items for comfort and entertainment, like your favorite treat or pastime.
  • Since we can’t always predict when or where an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.
    • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all household members know where the kit is kept.
    • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
    • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car like blankets, snacks, sturdy footwear, phone chargers, and water.
Get Prepared
  • Protect your home and family by removing common home and property hazards for low cost:
    • Anchor heavy objects like furniture or appliances to walls. Secure fragile or heavy objects.
    • Never overload outlets or use extension cords under rugs.
    • Create a safety zone of 30 to 100 ft. around your home by clearing trees or other debris.
    • Keep your roof and gutters free of debris.
    • Conduct regular checks and battery replacements of smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Don’t put off critical repairs or preventative maintenance. These problems can exacerbate disaster situations.
  • Technology has made it easier than ever to prepare for emergencies, but it can be unreliable in an emergency if you haven’t kept your gadgets protected and powered up. Here are some tips to make sure you are tech ready:
    • Keep devices charged and updated with the latest security updates.
    • Use text messages to connect with family and friends during emergencies. Mobile networks can be overwhelmed during emergencies, but texts use less bandwidth than calls or internet communication.
    • Store important documents on a secure, password-protected jump drive or in the cloud to allow for access from anywhere and protect from loss.
    • Sign up for direct deposit and electronic banking through your financial institution so you can access your paycheck and make electronic payments wherever you are.
  • Americans at all income levels have experienced the challenges of rebuilding their lives after a disaster. Having access to personal financial, insurance, medical and other records is crucial for starting the recovery process quickly and efficiently.
    • Gather financial and critical personal, household and medical information in a central, safe location.
    • Consider saving a small amount of cash in a safe place. ATMs and credit cards may not work during a disaster when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.
    • Obtain property (homeowners or renters), health, and life insurance if you do not have them. Homeowners insurance does not typically cover flooding, so you may need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Stay Informed
  • Be Informed. Sign up to receive emergency notifications. Register now for Stafford Alert: Stafford VA Citizen Alert System
  • Stafford Alert is an alert and notification system used to send out important information directly to the community, such as local traffic and weather, school closings, and emergency communications.
  • You can sign up for alerts that most impact you including a range of options from Quantico Noise Warnings, Public Utilities Notifications, Parks and Recreation Announcements and many more. 
Involve Youth
  • Disasters happen everywhere, and every member of the family can help prepare. Preparedness for the future starts with today’s youth!
    www.ready.gov/kids has the tools and information in a kid friendly format to help get the whole family involved.
  • Prepare with Pedro! Learn how to prepare for disasters with Pedro the penguin with a few downloadable preparedness activity book.
  • Test your knowledge and skill in a wide range of emergency situations and learn how to make an emergency kit by playing Disaster Master and Build a Kit.
  • Access resources to help children cope following a disaster at Helping Children Cope
  • Decide on family meeting points, and practice home evacuation to make sure kids know where to go. 
Medical Emergency
  • If you or someone in your household uses electrically-powered medical equipment, you can register with your power company to get on their medical conditions list.
  • See the links below for the forms for each of the four power companies that serve residents in Stafford County. The forms require a physician’s statement and signature. The forms must be re-submitted each year to maintain their registration on the medical conditions list.
  • Registration on the list does NOT guarantee protection against a loss of power so everyone is highly encouraged to make sure they have back-up power options in place such as a generator, back-up batteries etc. Work with your physician or insurance company to find out what options are available to you. Another option is to identify a family member or friend that may be able to provide proper care until your service is restored.
  • Dominion Energy
  • Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC)
  • Northern Neck Electric Cooperative (NNEC)
  • Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC)

For more information, visit: