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Preparedness Guide: Tips and Best Practices in the Event of a Hurricane

Severe weather and hurricanes can be hard to predict, and it’s important to remain prepared year-round.

PlanRVA works with the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia (EMACV) to ensure preparedness and the utilization of best practices for emergencies in the region.

Below are tips for hurricane readiness in the Richmond region.

Staying Informed: What is a Hurricane?

Hurricanes are massive storm systems with winds that reach 74 miles per hour or higher. These powerful storms form over warm ocean waters and move toward land. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating, or category, based on a hurricane's maximum sustained winds. The higher the category, the greater the hurricane's potential for property damage.

The Atlantic hurricane season extends from early June to the end of November. While it is important to note that this timeframe is when hurricanes are more likely to occur, they can occur year-round with the right weather conditions.

How to Prepare for a Hurricane

Make sure you are signed up for warning systems in your area, like the CodeRed Emergency Notification System for the City of Richmond. The Emergency Alert System and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provides alerts. These services help ensure awareness of emergencies as they arise. Another key element of preparedness is to create an evacuation plan, complete with evacuation routes and locations for sheltering.

Reserve emergency supplies. Include items like canned goods and other non-perishable foods, clean water, medical supplies and important documents.

To protect your property, declutter drains and gutters, review insurance policies and consider home improvements like hurricane shutters and plumbing checks.

Knowing your flood risk will also allow you to prepare appropriately. PlanRVA has a flood risk mapper tool that allows community members to check their property’s flood risk and is free to use.

Safety During a Hurricane

If you are under a hurricane warning, find shelter immediately. Follow directions if authorities instruct the region to evacuate and continue to monitor alerts and emergency communications for incoming instructions.

When taking shelter, do so in an interior room or hallway away from windows and on the lowest floor to protect from high winds. Avoid flood water areas with fast-moving waters, including driving over bridges. If you are in a building that is blocked in by flooding, go to the highest floor level (excluding attics).

Safety After a Hurricane

Monitor weather, emergency alerts, local authorities and the status of your physical location. Depending on the severity, hurricanes can cause serious damage to property and create a dangerous environment. Be sure to assess your home and surroundings for any destruction that can compromise safety. Avoid wading in flood water and do not touch electrical equipment to avoid injury from currents or debris. In addition, document any damage to your insurance and personal records.

Having an understanding of possible emergency scenarios and how those may impact your local region is key for preparing to ensure your safety during the event of a hurricane.

For more information on hurricanes and safety, visit

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