Make emergency plans now

Published 10:47 pm Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring officially began several weeks ago, but it has hit Suffolk with full force this week.

The abundance of pollen, unusually warm weather and temporary deluge on Friday should be enough to bring most folks’ attention to the changing season. And while there are many wonderful things about spring, the season can also bring some dangerous weather, and it means hurricane season will be starting before long.

It’s never too early to be prepared for severe weather. Floods are the most common disaster in Virginia, but spring also brings serious thunderstorms and a higher risk for tornados.

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You can prepare for an emergency by accumulating emergency supplies, making an emergency plan and staying informed about potential weather events.

To get an emergency kit, collect a three-day supply of non-perishable food, one gallon of water per person for at least three days, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and NOAA weather radio with extra batteries, a flashlight, first-aid kit, medication and other supplies you will need. This step should be done well in advance of severe weather, because it may not be possible just before a storm.

An emergency plan should also be part of your planning. Every member of the family should be aware of designated meeting places in the neighborhood, out of the neighborhood and out of town. Know where you will go if you have to evacuate. Take into account the special needs of the elderly and disabled, children and pets in your family. Encourage employers, day care centers and other places where your family spends a lot of time to make their own plans if they do not already have one.

Finally, stay informed. Keep track of weather systems headed toward the area, and pay attention to local announcements about conditions.

We want everybody in Suffolk to stay safe during emergencies, so please encourage your family, friends and neighbors to get a kit, make a plan and be informed. For more information, visit