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Our region will be experiencing significant rainfall through the weekend from coastal storms including Hurricane Joaquin, and Governor McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency to allow state agencies to better respond to flooding and related issues. According to the National Weather Service, hurricane season spans from June 1 through November 30, and in coastal Virginia and communities all along the East Coast, planning and preparedness is a top priority. Of course, we all hope that natural disasters don’t happen, but it is so important for us to take precautions and be prepared for when they do. Here are some tips and resources that you can use to make a hurricane-preparedness plan for you and your family. If you have questions or need help dealing with a federal agency in the aftermath of a storm, please reach out to my district offices.

Be Informed and Have a Plan:

Your safety comes first, and that means compliance is essential if and when local authorities call for evacuation. Stay informed, know evacuation routes, and have an out-of-town contact and a place to go until the storm passes. Keep a battery-powered radio and extra batteries on hand so that power outages don’t interrupt your access to information.

It’s equally critical to have a plan for staying safe if you’re at home during the storm. Find a place in every room where you and your family will be protected from debris (under a sturdy table, for instance, or by an inside wall), and practice dropping, covering, and holding small children. Prepare to be without water and electricity for a few days, and keep an emergency preparedness kit on hand with a first aid kit, non-perishable food items, lots of water, blankets, important documents, cash, and any other essentials that you might need.

The most important thing that you can do while making a plan that’s right for you is know your own risks. Don’t be caught off-guard.

Reduce Your Risks:

Storms are unpredictable, and it’s impossible to guard against all dangers, but you can minimize the risk of property damage by reinforcing areas that are vulnerable to wind. Protect the integrity of the exterior of your home and reinforce your roof, straps, shutters, and doors. Anchor or elevate fuel tanks and elevate the main breaker or fuse box and the utility meters above the anticipated flood level in your home or business so that they won’t be damaged by floodwater. You can contact your local building code official to find out what measures are recommended for your home improvement projects, and talk to your insurance agent now about flood insurance and your homeowner’s policy.

After the Storm:

The dangers associated with hurricanes don’t end with the storm—the post-hurricane environment presents its own health risks. Stay hydrated to avoid heat exhaustion and make sure that you avoid contaminated water, food, and air. Avoid burning charcoal or gas grills inside the house, garage, car, etc. to prevent poisoning from carbon monoxide. Return to evacuation zones only after they’ve been declared safe and take any additional precautions as necessary to protect yourself and your loved ones.


For more information contact my offices or check out the resources below:

The main streets of Virginia’s First District are full of ideas to get our economy back on track, and your feedback is critically important to me as I serve you. I can be reached by telephone at (202) 225-4261, through my website (, on Facebook (, and via Twitter (


Yorktown Office
401 Main Street
Yorktown, VA 23690
Phone: (757) 874-6687
Fax: (757) 874-7164

Stafford Office
95 Dunn Drive
Ste. 201
Stafford, Virginia 22556
Phone: (540) 659-2734
Fax: (540) 659-2737

Tappahannock Office
508 Church Lane
Tappahannock, VA 22560
Phone: (804) 443-0668
Fax: (804) 443-0671

Washington D.C. Office
2454 Rayburn H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4261
Fax: (202) 225-4382