JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
One of the most significant natural disasters that Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia faces are hurricanes. The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1st and ends on November 30th each year. Now is the time for the JBLE community to ensure they’re hurricane prepared.
Here are three easy steps to prepare for hurricane season.
- Make a Family Disaster Plan which includes a Family Emergency Communication Plan
- Build a Disaster Supply Kit
- Stay Informed – JBLE Public Affairs, local media, and Know Your Zone
Go to Federal Emergency Management Agency’s webpage, ready.gov/plan, for an explanation on how to create a disaster plan for your family. Once there, you will also find instructions on how to create a Family Emergency Communication plan.
During hurricanes or other disasters, communication networks may be unreliable and electrical power could be disrupted. Having family members know how to get in touch with one another during a disaster will help them communicate with each other if they are separated. Texting is the best way to communicate during a disaster as it requires much less bandwidth than a phone call. To learn more about emergency communication plans, go to https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2021-04/family-emergency-communication-plan.pdf.
The next step is to build a kit. A disaster supply kit is a collection of basic items needed in a household in the event of an emergency. Examples of needed items are bottled water (one gallon of water per person per day for consumption), non-perishable food that meets the family’s nutritional needs, and prescriptions to name a few. Families may need to survive on their own after an emergency for several days or possibly longer. Being prepared means, at a minimum, having enough supplies that can sustain yourself and your family for three days without electrical power. You can find more information on kits and what to include in them at the FEMA webpage, ready.gov/kit.
For updates and information, local television and radio media outlets will convey details of the storm and the JBLE Public Affairs Office will keep personnel informed, should an evacuation order be given. It is recommended to keep a vehicle’s fuel tank three quarters full in case an evacuation is required.
Additionally, have your Disaster Supplies Kit with you in case an evacuation order is executed as this will help ensure your family has all the essentials needed. The general criteria for evacuation of JBLE is significant flooding on base or a category III or greater hurricane threatening our area. The JBLE installation commander is the decision authority and will issue a Limited Evacuation Order as required.
Know Your Zone (KnowYourZoneVA.org) is an awareness initiative that applies to roughly 1.25 million residents in 23 localities along coastal Virginia. This website displays a detailed, interactive, color-coded map showing each of the four evacuation zones. Users can enter their physical address in the search bar to view and confirm their designated evacuation zone. Once at the site, if the home is located in a clear or white area, it is not in a coastal evacuation zone.
According to the National Weather Service, when a Hurricane Watch is issued, it means a storm with sustained winds over 74 mph is a possible threat within 48 hours. At this time it is encouraged to review emergency plans and double check emergency kits. Install hurricane shutters, test generators, and make sure there is enough fuel. Bring in patio furniture and any other loose items that could cause significant damage or bodily harm.
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours or less. Once a Hurricane Warning is issued all residents should shelter in place unless given an emergency evacuation order. Hurricane force winds are extremely dangerous.
Finally, a short video from FEMA called “Preparing Makes Sense” explains how to plan ahead and be prepared during hurricane season.
Link to the Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide during the COVID-19 Pandemic: