Public Preparedness Guidance

2022 National Preparedness Month: A Lasting Legacy

"The life you’ve built is worth protecting. Prepare for disasters to create a lasting legacy for you and your family."

Emergency Kit Cook-off Winner

Nicole DeStefano poses with the wooden spoon trophy for chicken taco chili awarded to the cookoff winner. She stated that it was perfect for a cool evening at home when you want something easy to prepare. Destafano is a Region 4 Licensing Specialist for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

No Power? No Problem! Look At These Delicious Emergency Kit Meals

September is National Preparedness Month, and the VDH Office of Emergency Preparedness collaborated with OnTheSquare Virginia to host the annual Emergency Kit Cook-off on September 20th on the patio of the James Madison building. Any state employee is eligible to participate and the rules are simple: food items must be nonperishable and the cooking source and cooking tools must not be electric.


Emergency Kit Cook-off participants and judges

State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, provided opening comments and then contestants had 50 minutes to prepare their food. After this time, the each of the 5 judges tasted each of the dishes and provided a score in the areas of taste, appearance, and ease of preparation during an emergency.

Vendor Booth at Emergency Kit Cook-off Event
Capitol Police at the Emergency Kit Cook-off

But great cooking wasn’t the only fun occurring. DJ Sclater (James Sclater, OEP Training Coordinator) was on the scene providing upbeat music keeping spirits high. Flu shots and COVID-19 shots were available, provided by Walgreen’s pharmacy. There were also information tables from

  • Greater Richmond Medical Reserve Corps
  • American Red Cross Richmond Chapter
  • Virginia Capitol Police
  • VDH Office of Radiological Health’s radon awareness program
  • Partners in Prayer and Prevention Program
  • VDH WIC and Breastfeeding Program
  • Virginia SART
  • Sheehy-Emergency Car Preparedness
  • COVAHealth-Coach Lou
  • VDH Office of Health Equity
Emergency Kit Cook-off Winners

Contestants and Their Dishes

Nicole DeStefano, Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services, Chicken Taco Chili, first place

Tanya Pruett, Department of Elections, Aunt Donna's Yummy Taco Soup, second place

Ju-yin Chen, Virginia Department of Transportation, Thai Red Curry, third place

Natalie Paul, Department of Human Resources Management, Chicken a la Nat

Arden Lynn, VDH Office of Procurement and General Services, Tatsu Maki Sushi

Mike Magner, VDH Office of Emergency Preparedness, Emergency Chicken Fried Rice

LaCora Hurte, Department of Education, Black Bean and Corn Salsa



Ed Gross, Governor's Chef

Bob Mauskapf, Director, VDH Office of Emergency Preparedness

Dr. Parham Jaberi, VDH Community Health Services

Tiffany Ford, VDH Deputy Commissioner of Administration

Matthew Marry, Director of Emergency Preparedness, Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association


Access all of the amazing Emergency Kit Cook-off recipes through the years in this wonderful cookbook. Select the image to open the file.
Emergency Kit Cook-Off Cookbook 2022

Questions about National Preparedness Month or the Emergency Kit Cook-off contact Adreania Tolliver