Better safe than sorry

Published 10:44 pm Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The old adage goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

That is the philosophy Virginia elected leaders typically embrace every hurricane season when storms threaten the commonwealth. We would suggest that Suffolk residents embrace them as well.

Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday declared a state of emergency for the state in advance of Hurricane Dorian’s effects on southeastern Virginia, which are anticipated late Thursday.

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Unlike what many people seem to think when they accuse government officials of too much hype, declaring a state of emergency does not mean that the state expects catastrophic destruction. But it does mean that a state of emergency makes certain things easier for a government.

In Virginia’s case, it allows the state to more quickly mobilize resources, deploy people and equipment to assist in response and recovery efforts, and coordinate planning and evacuation resources with nearby states that may be more affected (in this case, our neighbors to the south, North Carolina). It also means the Virginia Emergency Operations Center can be activated to monitor the storm and coordinate preparedness efforts with local, state and federal officials.

So in other words, a state of emergency does not mean absolute catastrophe is imminent, and it is not necessarily synonymous with evacuations or anything else.

When government officials are cautious, perhaps even overly cautious, many are quick to accuse them of all sorts of ulterior motives. But we see the wisdom in that old adage “better safe than sorry.
As you’re making your final preparations, be sure to learn your evacuation zone at or by calling 211. You should also monitor forecasts and ensure your emergency supplies are up to date.