Hurricane Season in the Atlantic Basin is here! From June 1 to November 30 is our best chance in Virginia for seeing hurricane activity. From experience we know EMS agencies will be called on to assist citizens, hurricane or not, and maybe more because of the event. While we in EMS can’t change the weather, we can make sure that both our persons and our agencies are prepared to assist should our Commonwealth experience ill effects from a hurricane.
Some things we as EMS providers and agencies might want to think about or do to prepare include:
There are probably lots of other things we need to think about so for more information about understanding and preparing for a hurricane you can check out these web-sites (and more):
Responding to Hurricane Impact
With the current Atlantic Hurricane outlook and the potential that areas of the United States may be significantly impacted, the Virginia Office of EMS would like to post some reminders about disaster assistance. As EMS providers, we understand that you want to help and that you may feel compelled to want to travel to areas impacted by a major disaster. We request that you please do not respond to any area of Virginia, or the country, that needs assistance, unless you have received a formal request. Requests for assistance from impacted areas will be routed through the Virginia Emergency Operations Center. Those requests pertaining to EMS will be assigned to the Office of EMS, Division of Emergency Operations where they will be filled as applicable and appropriate.
Liability, safety, and accountability become major issues when self-dispatch to affected areas occurs, whether it is done by an agency or a single provider. Self-dispatching also places a strain on the response structure of the affected locality. Again, the best assistance you can provide is making yourself available to your local agency, not self-dispatching to the impacted areas.
If you have any questions please contact Karen Owens, Emergency Operations Manager, at Karen.Owens@vdh.virginia.gov. You can also call 804-888-9100.