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How prepared are you for hurricane season?

May 20, 2023

Governor Glenn Youngkin is urging Virginians to prepare now for this year's hurricane season, which began last week and runs through Nov. 30.

"It is imperative that Virginians take preparedness seriously," said Youngkin. "Now is the time to prepare your families and property, check your insurance coverage, and identify those trusted sources of information that can help keep you safe."

Virginians are advised not to ignore the fact that storms that start in the lower Atlantic or Gulf States also have the potential to come north and cause significant damage – particularly for vulnerable areas in southwest Virginia.

This year, the Commonwealth has developed a new Hurricane Preparedness – Inland Impacts Guide specifically designed for communities that are not located along the coastline.

"There is an immense return on investment for taking steps to ensure personal preparedness," said Shawn Talmadge, state coordinator at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. "It not only relieves the stress of scrambling prior to an impending storm, but can also save lives, mitigate damages, and shorten the time it takes for individuals and communities to recover."

Take the time now to review your insurance policy, secure your property, and create a plan that includes arrangements for your pets or those that may need extra assistance. Below are a few critical steps to ensure you and your family's safety.

Know your zone. Evacuation may become necessary depending on the track and severity of the storm. Review Virginia's evacuation zones at Users can enter their physical address in the search bar of the website to view and confirm their designated evacuation zone.

Complete a family communication plan. Prepare for how you will assemble and communicate with your family and loved ones. Identify meeting locations and anticipate where you will go. Federal Emergency Management Agency guidance on family communications plans is available here.

Check your insurance coverage. Remember, there may be a waiting period (typically 30 days) for a flood insurance policy to become effective, and be aware that not all storm-related losses, such as flooding, are covered under traditional policies.

Now is the time to review your coverage and contact your insurance agent for any changes. If you are not insured against floods, talk to your insurance agent, shop private flood insurance, or visit

If you are a renter, now is the time to ensure you have adequate coverage to protect your belongings.

It is also imperative that you have adequate coverage on all insurance policies to ensure it reflects current home values and replacement costs.

Make an emergency kit. Assemble an emergency kit that includes nonperishable food, water, medication, sanitary supplies, radios, extra batteries, and important documents. Learn more about building an emergency supply kit below.

Stay informed. Identify where to go for trusted sources of information during emergencies. Check with your local emergency management office to sign up for alerts that go directly to your phone or email. Be sure to monitor local news for watches and warnings in your area and follow directions of local officials. Power outages are always a concern during weather events—make sure you have a battery-operated radio available so you can still receive life-saving alerts.

There are many resources available to assist with hurricane planning efforts. Learn more about preparing your business, your family, and your property against hurricane threats (and other disasters) at and

Building an emergency kit

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Once you take a look at the basic items consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors.

To assemble your kit store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)

Food (at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food)

Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert


First aid kit

Extra batteries

Whistle (to signal for help)

Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)

Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)

Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)

Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)

Manual can opener (for food)

Local maps

Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Additional emergency supplies

Since Spring of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended people include additional items in their kits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus or other viruses and the flu.

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

Masks (for everyone ages 2 and above), soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces

Prescription medications. About half of all Americans take a prescription medicine every day. An emergency can make it difficult for them to refill their prescription or to find an open pharmacy. Organize and protect your prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and vitamins to prepare for an emergency.

Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives

Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution

Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream

Pet food and extra water for your pet

Cash or traveler's checks

Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container

Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person

Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes

Fire extinguisher

Matches in a waterproof container

Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils

Paper and pencil

Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Maintaining your kit

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 family's needs change.

Kit storage locations

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and cars.

Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family 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.

Car: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

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Know your zone. Complete a family communication plan. Check your insurance coverage. Make an emergency kit. Stay informed. Building an emergency kit Additional emergency supplies Maintaining your kit Kit storage locations