Commonwealth Prepares for Possible Hurricane

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

The scenario: Category 2 Hurricane Katrina has torn through our area. The drill is called Vertex 2005. It's a statewide drill aimed at making sure local emergency officials are prepared.

"The purpose of this exercise is to test our communication between local jurisdictions and the state in a hurricane type scenario for six hours. A group went through the protocols of a real emergency situation," said Kaye Harden, an emergency services coordinator.

A fictional news broadcast started out the drill and this is the scenario they were dealing with:

"We're trying to find out where the damages are, what people need in the way of support services, we have sheltered 2,000 people, we've had to evacuate portions of our hospitals," said Harden.

Ten people represented the different departments that played a role in the scenario at the Red Cross and the Health Department. The main goal is to make sure things run as smooth as possible in case something like this ever happens.

The team communicated, placing calls to make sure people would get the help they need whether it's water, food, or shelter. However, officials said while they're doing their part, residents also need to have a plan just in case.

"The preparedness issue while it's here, is also at home and preparing is important, especially since five hurricanes hit last year, bringing flooding to our area," said Berton Blumfeld of the Red Cross.

Even though Virginia didn't get the brunt of the bad weather last year, this drill is focused on a worst case scenario and it's something emergency officials want to make sure they're ready for. "We got to practice them, so we got to do it every year," said Harden.

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