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Sep 07

9-7-2017: Preparing for the possibility of Hurricane Irma or other significant weather events

Posted on September 7, 2017 at 3:29 PM by Fred Gaskins

As the first week of September draws to an end locally and state-wide all eyes are focused on Hurricane Irma. The track today is significantly better than the one yesterday evening, but we are not completely out of the woods. The storm could shift again, so our emergency management team remains on high alert.


Although it will be a day or two before we have a better understanding on whether or how Irma will impact us, I wanted to take this opportunity to stress the importance of preparation, with the hopes that the storm stays safely away from Hampton Roads.  Our website has a tremendous amount of useful information including the recently introduced “Know Your Zone” to know whether to evacuate or shelter in place, how to prepare for a storm and create an emergency supply kit and resources available in our area. 

 
city manager image 9.7.2017

Even a glancing blow from Hurricane Irma may disrupt the normal delivery of city services.  Typically it’s our Emergency Management, Fire, Police, Public Works, Parks, Fleet, 911, 311 and Marketing employees who are considered “essential personnel” and expected to carry out services when normal city operations are discontinued.  


It is important to be reminded, however, that should we ever experience a significant impact from a major hurricane, that scope of services would expand and require a "all hands on deck" approach, especially in recovery. Thus, this is a good time to remind everyone that in the worst of circumstances, we all need to be prepared to help.


The Personnel Policies Manual states that the designation of “essential personnel” is made by the City Manager or designee and may vary depending on the emergency.  If we should ever have the need for more personnel than a typical event, the Executive Management Team and I would assess the situation and make a determination of what services are needed to support our citizens.  This means your department head may ask you to work in another department or in a different capacity before, during or after a storm.  For most of you who typically do not work such events, most of this tasking would come in our recovery stage. Some areas where your help may be needed include:

 

  1. Staffing distribution centers (water, toiletries, storm cleanup supplies)
  2. Stocking information boxes placed throughout the city
  3. Canvassing neighborhoods to distribute information
  4. Providing transportation to medically dependent citizens
  5. Serving as a “runner” relaying information to different groups throughout the city
  6. Registering volunteers (individuals or groups) and tracking hours for administrative purposes
  7. Feeding city employees and/or volunteers

 

This list is not all inclusive, but gives you an idea of where you may be able to help if asked.  If there is ever a need, you will receive a email from me with additional information coming from your department head. 


Although we do NOT currently anticipate such tasking for this event based on the latest track, I ask that you continue to monitor the forecast as we approach the weekend and take preliminary steps to ensure you and your family’s safety if Hurricane Irma's course changes and threatens our area.  Please also begin to think about how you can help, if asked. I will keep you posted with other updates as appropriate.

 

Thank you for serving the citizens of Hampton and let’s all hope that Hampton Roads remains out of Hurricane Irma’s path, and that Jose and other storms do not cause threats.


Mary

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