Experts suggest a ‘jump bag’ for hurricane preparedness

Posted at 6:24 PM, Aug 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-15 18:38:32-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--On a picture perfect late summer day Mother Nature’s fury may not be on your mind, but emergency experts say it should.

“Don’t let these conditions fool you. We’re approaching the heart of hurricane season,” says John McNamara with the American Red Cross.

McNamara urges you to be ready with a jump bag essential for survival. The bag should be filled with items like three days of food, and seven days of medications, along with a toothbrush and toothpaste of course.

“In a matter of minutes you could be forced to evacuate your home,” says McNamara.

The Red Cross is also going high-tech with a new Hurricane Mobile app for your smart phone.

The hurricane mobile app acts as a sort of virtual tool kit. In addition to a strobe light it is also equipped with a blaring alarm. With one swipe of a button the alarm will sound to let rescuers know where you are in case you’re lost.

[RELATED: NOAA: Atlantic hurricane season on track to be above-normal]

Bob Spieldenner with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management says his agency works year round preparing for potential storms.

“We’re just now entering the peak part of hurricane season,” says Spieldenner. “We’ve gone through our plans and continually revise them.”

Spieldenner says that some cities and towns will send text alerts to everyone in harm’s way in case of impeding severe storms.

“This is something that is just being pushed out and it’s just starting in Virginia,” says Spieldenner.

In case of a mass evacuation from Hampton Roads VDEM also identifies temporary housing for tens of thousands of people across Central Virginia and beyond.

“So we have been looking at colleges and universities that we can turn to shelters if needed,” says Spieldenner.

Back at The American Red Cross John McNamara wants you to be prepared on an individual level, and emphasizes the importance of staying one step ahead of the storm.

“The more items you have in your go bag and the more conversations you have with your family will put you in a better situation if a hurricane affects our area.”