Emergency Preparedness and Response

Emergency Preparedness & Response

The Department of Emergency Preparedness and Response consists of two divisions which are also the central point of contact for Emergency Management and Emergency Communications (911).

Apr 02

Team Norfolk Emergency Operations - COVID-19 April 2, 2020 Update

Posted on April 2, 2020 at 2:39 PM by Jim Redick

Team –

We’re at the mid-point of the operational period so I wanted to provide a brief update.  Starting with the most recent Virginia Department of Health numbers posted this morning, Virginia has 1,706 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 41 fatalities.  Norfolk is credited with 37 cases and sadly, learned of our first fatality yesterday.  The expectation and our planning assumptions should be that these numbers will continue to rise.  During recent press briefings, Governor Northam issued Executive Order 55 – a Temporary Stay At Home Order effective until June 10 - and suggested peak demand on PPE and our healthcare systems may not arrive until late April to late May.  To assist with this demand and otherwise decompress the surge on our hospital systems, the Hampton Convention Center was identified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and approved by Governor Northam as the location for a Federal Alternate Care Site (ACS) in Hampton Roads.  Putting an ACS is not an overnight operation; more to come on this.

Please find attached the status on our IncidentAction Plan (IAP) – updates in red text.  There has been much done throughout all of Team Norfolk!  I want to thank our higher education partners, Norfolk State and Old Dominion, for their contributions of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the fascinating idea of ODU VMASC creating equipment with 3D printing!!  A big thanks also to Ms. Tina Harvey and Capital Concrete for their generous donation of much-needed hand sanitzer! 

Our VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) partners also continue to meet and work tirelessly to find ways to help the community get through this pandemic.  Because their, and other volunteer and non-profit organizations will deplete their resources, we are committed to continue promoting ways which folks in our community and volunteer or contribute.  Along with VOAD, this includes the great work being done by the Food Bank and our CERT volunteers assisting with traffic control and meal distribution, Volunteer Hampton Roads, Senior Services of SouthHampton Roads (Meals on Wheels), and our newest partner, Corona Aid #757!  With hopes of keeping donation support here locally, please let us know other ways in which Norfolkians and others can contribute to the cause!

All who are performing volunteer work for COVID-19, please DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!  Your contributions have a dollar value when it comes to potential reimbursement from FEMA.  It doesn’t mean YOU and your ORGANIZATION will get reimbursed; rather, the City is responsible for match funding which your documented contributions could count toward.  In other words, your efforts benefit our community more than you knew!!  But in the world of FEMA, if its not documented, it never happened. More details here.

The YMCA deserves a round of applause for their offer to provide childcare for essential workers!  Details available here

Big thanks to some of our faith leaders and other partners for their work as well helping get critical information throughout our neighbors.
  These include Pastor Kirk Houston of Gethsemane Community Fellowship Baptist Church, Pastor Keith Jones of Shiloh Baptist Church, Pastor Jones - President of the Tidewater Baptist Minister’s Organization, Pastor Geoffrey Gunns of Second Calvary Baptist Church, Pastor William Tyree of First Baptist Church Berkley as well as Mr. Joe Dillard, President Norfolk NAACP and Mr. Gil Bland, President Urban League.   One Team!  One Message!

Infrastructure Systems / Community Lifelines
  • Safety and Security: Norfolk 911, Norfolk Fire-Rescue, Norfolk Police and Norfolk Sheriff’s Office are all operational;
  • Food, Water, Shelter: Food continues to be provided by Norfolk Public Schools, Food Bank, Mercy Chefs, CoronaAid757, and several food pantries.  Food locator website to be made available;
  • Health and Medical: Sentara has discontinued drive-thru testing at Military Circle. In-House testing strategy will be forthcoming;
  • Energy: No outages.  Dominion Energy also among the utilities suspending disconnects due to late or non-payment;
  • Communications: Joint Information Center (JIC) is activated for all incident-related messaging.  All responder communications are operational.


Resource Needs:

  • Autoclave material, which is on what sterilized tools are laid in hospitals, tattoo studios and other sanitized spaces, to make homemade masks.
  • Folks to make masks with the autoclave material! Instructions here.
  • Food Bank is in need of monetary donations (not foodstuff donations).
  • CoronaAid757 needs more volunteers to help grocery shop, deliver meals, etc. for our seniors.  Also, in need of masks.
  • Volunteer Hampton Roads is also looking for more volunteers for the many missions they are supporting.


Rumor Control:

Since the Governor’s Stay At Home order, many have asked whether credentials were needed to travel to and from work, etc.  As stated by Norfolk Police and further posted by the Virginia State Police:

 “Governor Northam’s Executive Orders:

  • Do not require an individual to carry documentation related to one’s purpose of travel in Virginia;
  • Do not close Virginia’s roads / interstates to Virginia residents;
  • Do not restrict non-Virginia residents from travelling into, through and/or out of Virginia;
  • Do not prevent Virginians from traveling out of the state.”


It is also worth reminding folks interested in serving in a volunteer capacity, Governor Northam’s Executive Order 55 specifically states “Volunteering with organizations that provide charitable or social services…” is an exception.

Weather:

Special Shout Out to Mr. Skip Stiles of Wetlands Watch who helps keep our community informed of impending flood events.  While we just experienced some coastal flooding, we have more in store.  The Tide Graph for Sewell’s Point suggests nuisance flooding during the weekend’s high tides.  Please encourage folks living in areas vulnerable to coastal flooding to move their vehicles to higher ground at any of the city garages, all of which are open and free of charge.

While a bit windy at times, there is no rain in the forecast for the remainder of this operational period which ends Monday at 9am.


Situation Report Reminder

Please remember to send your situation reports to EOC-Plans@norfolk.gov by noon tomorrow, Friday the 3rd.  Looking for what you were able to accomplish, objectives for next week, resource needs and messaging needs.


One Community.  One Team.  One Unified Effort.

Norfolk Frequently Asked Questions


Thanks, everyone!

Sincerely,

Jim

Jim Redick, Director
Norfolk Emergency Preparedness & Response
EOC-Plans@norfolk.gov

Follow City of Norfolk for official information at Norfolk.gov, @NorfolkVa on Twitter, and City of Norfolk Government on FaceBook.


Mar 31

Team Norfolk Emergency Operations - COASTAL STORM Update 3-31-2020

Posted on March 31, 2020 at 11:42 AM by Jim Redick

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you might imagine, weather and coastal flooding does not stop because of the Coronavirus-19.  Therefore, please review the initial Coastal Storm Briefing provided by our friends at the National Weather Services in Wakefield:  

Rain this evening and through tomorrow morning amounting to approximately 1”.
  Additionally, the Wednesday morning high tide will be significantly higher and will cause nuisance flooding around the hours of 3am to 7am, peaking at 5’ around 5am.  The following  high tide which should occur close to 5pm Wednesday will also result in nuisance flooding forecasted (4.5’, minor flood stage).

The 
Hourly Graph and Tide Chart are provided for your review.

Residents living in areas vulnerable to coastal flooding should continue to be mindful all City parking garages remain open and free of charge should they wish to park their vehicle(s) on higher ground.

Thanks!

Jim

Jim Redick, Director
Norfolk Emergency Preparedness and Response
EOC-Plans@norfolk.gov 


Mar 30

Team Norfolk Emergency Operations - COVID-19 Update March 30, 2020

Posted on March 30, 2020 at 9:50 AM by Jim Redick

Team –

Virginia's case numbers have passed 1,000 today with 24 fatalities.  During a recent conference call with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the following perspective was offered:  Positive cases reflect actions taken around 7 days prior.  The announcement of a confirmed case follows the test turn-around time, which is days.  In other words, if I had a test come back today adding me to the ranks of the confirmed positive, I was likely tested back on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  Prior to taking the test, I would have experienced symptoms prompting me to get tested in the first place.  And prior to that would be the virus incubation period.  All this to say the most up-to-date numbers aren’t a true reflection of the most accurate number of cases.

As the numbers continue to increase, we must remember our healthcare partners are only resourced to a certain level which COVID-19 will overwhelm.  As such, efforts are being made to enhance that surge capacity both within the confines of the hospitals as well as by identifying facilities which could serve as “Alternate Care Facilities” (ACF’s).  This ACF strategy and the involvement of the U.S. Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Virginia National Guard and other agencies was announced by Governor Northam late last week.

We must support our Public Health and Healthcare partners as they continue to fight this fight head-on.  This includes doing all we can to limit the spread of the virus.  Along with closing areas throughout the city which encourage group activity, Dr. Filer has made the decision that only mission-critical staff are to report to work beginning today, Monday March 30, through April 13.  Those reporting must take all possible precautions by wearing the necessarily PPE and practice social distancing.  All other employees are to remain home to telework or otherwise be at the ready to rotate in. 

These actions are in line the Governor’s orders of social distancing.  THE ACTIONS WE TAKE NOW WILL LITERALLY SAVE LIVES AMONG OUR HEALTHCARE WORKERS, FIRST RESPONDERS AND MORE IN OUR COMMUNITY BY PREVENTING NEEDLESS EXPOSURES.  We need everybody to help get this message out as widely and effectively as possible.

I also want to take a moment to recognize and thank others throughout the Team for their outstanding and generous contributions toward the overall effort.  They include the following:
  • Shared Hospital services and Soap Chips set up a mobile shower this past weekend at Freemason Baptist Church.  These organizations also provided towels, soap and shampoo.
  • First Baptist Norfolk donated its relevant disaster relief PPE to Sentara Leigh, it’s nearest hospital.  The church provided 400 nitrile gloves, 60 N95 respirators, and 235 Tyvek overalls.
  • The ODU School of Dental Hygiene also donated their PPE to local hospitals.
  • Steven Atkins of Nauticus came across 9 boxes of 20 N95 face masks and donated them to the cause.
  • Our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members assisted the Food Bank with traffic management and food distribution during its mobile pantry operations.
  • Thanks to Ms. Krystle Glover and our VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) partners who have stepped up and are considering assisting with the childcare for our most essential workers!

Folks, this is how we do it.  This is how we get through this.  I have often touted how we have amazing talents, resources and expertise throughout our community and those who make up this Team prove it time and again!  If you are aware of others responding in similar ways, please let me know.

As you can imagine there are more needs and opportunities to contribute.  Some of which I am currently aware are as follows:
  • Corona Aid 757 is raising donations and putting together a food panty for citizens and otherwise conducting grocery store runs, doing food drops for folks with currently 600 people in the group.  They need more volunteers to help people those in our community who are sheltered in place and can’t get out. Please visit Coronaaid757.com for more information.
  • Senior Services of South Hampton Roads also continues to deliver nutrition to our neighbors who are homebound, over 800 meals daily.  They need drivers to help with deliveries.  If interested, please call Jason at (757) 222-4522.
  • Volunteer Hampton Roads, who is working with 8 organizations (mostly on the Southside), is looking for volunteers to help package meals and deliver to seniors.
  • Among our most vulnerable and under-resourced neighbors, toilet paper remains the highest needed hygiene item.  Those in the restaurant and hotel industries, if you are interested in donating toilet paper as well as cleaning supplies, please let us know at EOC-Plans@norfolk.gov.

Also, for our business partners I want to relay information from Ms. Stacie Neal, Critical Infrastructure and Private Sector Program Manager with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) Planning Division:

I would like to offer some resources for the private sector to maintain two-way communication with State government.

  1. Register on our Private Sector Portal to be added to the distribution list to receive  future correspondence on the Commonwealth's actions:   https://bit.ly/VaPrivateSector
  2. There is a survey that we have published to gather information from the private sector on issues they are experiencing and offers of assistance to Virginia (donation, in-kind contribution).  That can be accessed at https://bit.ly/VaDonations.
  3. Please email private.sector@vdem.virginia.gov with questions not answered through the Portal or Survey.  Clinical questions about Coronavirus can be directed to 877-ASK-VDH3 or http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.
  4. If you are not already registered in eVA and wish to do Business with the State of Virginia, please register here: https://eva.virginia.gov/register-now.html(this is not necessary for donations).
  5. There is a survey that we have published to gather information from the private sector on issues they are experiencing and offers of assistance to Virginia (donation, in-kind contribution).  That can be accessed at https://bit.ly/VaDonations.
  6. Please email private.sector@vdem.virginia.gov with questions not answered through the Portal or Survey.  Clinical questions about Coronavirus can be directed to 877-ASK-VDH3 or http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.
  7. If you are not already registered in eVA and wish to do Business with the State of Virginia, please register here: https://eva.virginia.gov/register-now.html(this is not necessary for donations).

As we enter a new operational period, please visit https://www.norfolk.gov/DocumentCenter/View/60184/Incident-Action-Plan3-March-23-30-2020---REVIEW to review the Incident Action Plan (IAP) for the previous period with all updated information in red text.  There was much accomplished during that period!  This week’s IAP available at https://www.norfolk.gov/DocumentCenter/View/60183/Incident-Action-Plan4-March-30-to-April-6-2020 is also provided so we can all see the big picture of the Team’s goals for the next seven days.  Please let us know at EOC-Plans@norfolk.gov if anything is missing!  I also want to thank once again both Ms. Cheryl Simpson of the Endependence Center and Ms. Aleea Slappy, our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer for reviewing our IAP’s and providing feedback as to where and how we can improve our collective efforts and ensure the rights and needs of all are being considered!

Deputy City Manager Mike Goldsmith recently shared this quote from Winston Churchill:

“To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”

This quote is for each one of us individually and collectively as a Team.  This is the moment when all our relationships, planning, process development, meetings, training and exercises pays off.

One Community.  One Team.  One Unified Effort.

Sincerely,

Jim

Jim Redick, Director
Norfolk Emergency Preparedness & Response
EOC-Plans@norfolk.gov

Follow City of Norfolk for official information at Norfolk.gov, @NorfolkVa on Twitter, and City of Norfolk Government on FaceBook.