Dealing with Disasters and Emergencies

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and blizzards are incredibly dangerous and have the capacity to cause a massive amount of destruction in a short time. Events such as these require an ability to prepare and adapt and help with planning in advance. The following websites and books will help you in planning and responding to natural disasters.

Several of our counties offer information from their emergency management departments, complete with links to contacts and explanations of their duties. Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Westmoreland, and Stafford all have dedicated emergency management departments and offer alerts via your computer or mobile device. Virginia’s Emergency Management Department provides a guide to hurricane prep with instructions on whom you should call, how flood insurance works, and how you can mitigate the effects of hurricanes on your property. The National Hurricane Center has a list of steps you should take in the event of a hurricane alert. FEMA has forms and instructions for a family emergency communication plan to prepare in advance of disasters. And, the CDC’s Preparing for a Winter Storm offers helpful advice and instructions in the rare event of a major blizzard in the Fredericksburg area.

Some non-government websites may also be of use to you. The Red Cross site has a guide to making an emergency plan as well as a winter safety checklist. CBS News features a guide to assembling a hurricane preparedness kit. Finally, the Humane Society provides a guide specifically dedicated to making sure you can keep your pets safe in the event of natural disasters.

There are several books in the CRRL’s collection that may help you prepare for and understand dangerous weather conditions. Hurricanes and the Middle Atlantic States explores the history of storms in the United States and details the experiences of those who endured them over the centuries. Disasters by Design details how localities in the US respond to and mitigate disastrous weather on a regional basis. Extreme Weather explains how climate change, overpopulation, and deforestation have brought forth more devastating storms and higher waves. Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook offers advice on how to store water, create a first aid kit, and assemble a safe and effective home “grocery store.” Prepping 101 explains how your family and community can work together to survive and maintain a contingency plan in the event of short- and long-term disasters.

Sudden, violent natural disasters can be a major test of your preparation and ingenuity. Before you are confronted with danger and potential tragedy, use the library and online resources listed here to ready a response. You will be better prepared and greatly reduce the risk to your life, your loved ones, and your property.