Hurricane prep urged

Published 8:32 pm Saturday, May 23, 2015

With hurricane season fast approaching, citizens are urged to take advantage of the Virginia Department of Taxation’s weeklong sales tax holiday, starting Memorial Day.

During the annual event, many items necessary for emergency planning can be purchased sales tax-free.

Eligible items include batteries and flashlights, bottled water, tarps, first aid kits, portable radios and more — a complete list can be found at

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to issue its 2015 Atlantic hurricane season outlook on Wednesday.

“Having an emergency kit which includes food and water supplies for at least three days is important,” stated Michael Martin, Virginia Cooperative Extension emergency response and preparedness coordinator.

“It is also important to make preparations for taking care of any household pets and making plans for sheltering in case of evacuation.”

Preparedness experts and government officials also stress the importance of family communication plans, which can include where to meet, a primary contact person, and emergency plans for the elderly and family members with a disability or special medical needs.

Martin also suggests gas tanks be kept at least half full, owing to the risk fuel may not be available if a storm hits.

David Rives, senior vice president for distribution at Dominion Virginia Power, stated that while crews will work as quickly as possible to restore power after a hurricane of powerful storm, prolonged power outages are possible.

“Advance preparation can help ensure our customers and their families are ready,” he stated.

Dominion suggests adding to emergency kits a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water, first aid kit, battery powered radio, necessary medications, fully charged cellphone, extra clothes and a blanket.

The utility also reminded customers to regard any downed lines and anything touching them as energized and dangerous. Children need to be made aware of the danger, and pets should be kept safe.

Dominion also reminds customers:

4Be sure your phone number is up to date on your account. You can update the number online through Manage Your Account or by calling our phone 800-222-0401.

4Sign up for Dominion text alerts on the website, and follow Dominion on Facebook and Twitter.