Virginia emergency crews brace for Elsa as hurricane season begins

Weather

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– As Elsa moves through Central Virginia, local emergency agencies are preparing for the expected heavy rainfall.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is in contact with localities to make sure they have the resources they need. The agency has been working with power companies and no-profit partners like the American Red Cross.

According to Jason Elmore with VDEM, Elsa marks the start of a busy hurricane season ahead.

“We’re going to have more storms this hurricane season so go ahead and get prepared now,” Elmore said.

Before a storm, VDEM’s logistic team puts together kits to send out if needed. Today, American Red Cross crews pulled out supplies and PPE. In the warehouse, ten pallets were on standby filled with supplies like masks, gloves, face shields and hand sanitizer. The non-profit also has comfort kits filled with toothpaste, toothbrushes and washcloths.

Ellen White is the Regional Logistic Lead for the American Red Cross. She said preparation takes a couple of hours.

“We’re ready for anything to help people because it’s not happening to you, so you got to think about if you were in that situation, what you would want for somebody else to do for you,” White said.

Once sorted, items are then loaded onto a truck.

“When the storm hits, all they have to do is come, pick up the truck and go,” White said.

Trucks are deployed to the worst-hit areas. In the case of Elsa, American Red Cross has the Rappahannock and Virginia Beach area on its radar.

In the city of Richmond, the fire department’s swift water rescue is ready to respond to areas prone to flooding. Kevin Knight, a Richmond Fire and Water Rescue Lieutenant, told 8News, floodwaters are dangerous for multiple reasons.

“If roads are flooded do not drive through them, do not walk through them, don’t run through them, don’t hike through them, don’t go in any water that’s standing,” Knight said.

Not only is the water not clean, but it’s also a human life hazard. According to Knight, the flood water has the ability to pull someone under.

Elmore recommends residents take their in outside furniture inside and securing anything that’s loose. They should also have an emergency kit.

If you are stuck in water, experts say to get to high ground and call for help.

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