Update 9/8/2016: At this time, there are no known needs in regards to Hermine, and we are standing down all teams. Our focus continues to remain on West Virginia and Louisiana.
As the remnants of Hurricane Hermine churn up the Eastern seaboard toward the Commonwealth, Virginia Baptist Disaster Response is monitoring conditions in advance of any potential response.
“Our partners at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management do tremendous work keeping us informed and connected to current conditions, potential threats, and response needs,” says Aaron Lee, BGAV Disaster Response Coordinator. “We will remain in close contact with local leaders to determine where and how we may be able to assist once the storm has passed.”
Once the storm has passed, response needs will be evaluated and volunteers will be mobilized as needed through our partners and in conjunction with local churches in the affected communities.
“We ask you to join us in praying for the many needs,” Lee continues, “both in the path of this storm as well as in West Virginia and Louisiana.”
BGAV volunteers also remain active in response efforts in Louisiana and West Virginia.
Churches and associations in the BGAV network can contact regional field staff or the DR office should they discover needs in their community after the storm.
Governor McAuliffe has declared a State of Emergency ahead of the storm, which designates state resources to monitor and respond as necessary. Individuals should follow these reminders from VDEM:
- Do not drive through high water. Stay at home as severe weather arrives.
- Know the weather terms and what you should do:
- Flood Watch or Flash Flood Watch: There is an increased possibility of flooding or a flash flood in your area.
- Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will likely occur very soon. If emergency officials advise you to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Flash Flood Warning: Flash flooding is occurring. Seek higher ground immediately – don’t wait for official instructions.
- Be prepared to evacuate. If evacuated, do not return to your home until local officials say it is safe. After floodwaters recede, roads could be weakened and could collapse. Buildings might be unstable, and drinking water might be contaminated.
- Use common sense and look for information. If water is rising quickly or you see a moving wall of mud or debris, immediately move to higher ground.
- Do not walk through moving water. What might seem like a small amount of moving water can easily knock you down.
- If you depend on electricity for medical equipment or a mobility device, ensure all batteries are fully charged each day and be prepared to evacuate with extra batteries and any charging equipment you will need.
- If you will need to use paratransit, be sure to consider the amount of extra time you may need should evacuation be recommended. Find out now whether you will need to schedule a ride 24 hours in advance, how many personal items you are allowed to evacuate with, and whether your pets will be allowed on the paratransit vehicle.
- If you use durable medical equipment, need medical supplies, or take critical medications, ensure you have enough on hand for 5-7 days and include these items in your go-bag in case evacuation is recommended.
- Notify your support network now and start planning ahead for any disability-related or medical needs.