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).

Jan 09

Active Threat Response Training - January 8, 2019

Posted on January 9, 2019 at 9:34 AM by Steve Pyle

How would you react if an active threat situation occurred at your place of business? That’s the question our public safety team posed yesterday to a group of 40 individuals, made up of multiple Norfolk-based businesses, who took part in our Active Threat Response Training. Personnel from Norfolk Fire-Rescue, Police and Emergency Preparedness & Response were on hand for a three-hour session to share and empower the attendees with a diverse collection of information. This included recognizing and dealing with hostile situations, preparedness tips for employees, critical details to relay to the 911 dispatcher and how to stop bleed and administer hands-only CPR. (A special shoutout to Capital Group for hosting the training which is a perfect example of our partnership program in full effect!)

The saying goes “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”, and our team couldn’t agree more. This is precisely why training opportunities, such as this one, highlight the importance of partnerships between the public and private sector in our community. To address this critical piece, our department has a dedicated and formalized Private Sector Partnership Program to build relationships and increase resiliency among all business stakeholders in Norfolk. To accomplish this, we support the private sector through information sharing, situational awareness, understanding of needs and capabilities, and training and education. 

Our department recognizes that businesses and organizations play an invaluable role in preparing for emergencies and enhancing the overall resilience of Norfolk. From large-scale events to localized incidents, businesses must know where, when, and how to respond to minimize the impact to their operations. Time and time again, this partnership program showcases its strong return on investment and will no doubt continue to strengthen each day. 

For more information on our partnership program, please visit www.norfolk.gov/eocbusiness or email us at norfolkepr@norfolk.gov.

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Oct 09

Hurricane Michael Update 10-9-18 9:30am

Posted on October 9, 2018 at 10:27 AM by Steve Pyle


I wanted to provide the latest regarding Hurricane Matthew and his potential impacts in our area.  Based on the current forecast information, we will get some rain - upwards of 3.5” - but nothing we haven’t seen on a seemingly more frequent basis.  Per the Hourly graph, we will begin seeing rain early Thursday with the heaviest occurring overnight into Friday morning.  It is also during that time sustained winds and wind gusts increase, but again, nowhere near the level of a tropical storm.  Lastly, Michael, not a coastal storm for us, the Tides are a non-factor.  Any flooding taking place will primarily be from rainfall. 

We will continue to monitor and keep you posted.



Jim Redick
Director, Norfolk EOC

Oct 02

Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) 'Presidential Alert' Test

Posted on October 2, 2018 at 3:09 PM by Jim Redick

There have been several suggestive headlines referencing the 10/3/18 test of the WEA.  It’s the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) which has been in place since 2012. Have you ever received an unfamiliar ringtone or vibration on your cell with an alert message? That’s WEA. There is mandatory training and strict criteria as to how and when it can be used. Details available at Ready.gov/alerts, https://www.fema.gov/frequently-asked-questions-wireless-emergency-alerts, as well as https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/wireless-emergency-alerts-wea

Per the FCC, while launched in 2012, it was established in 2008 pursuant to the Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act.  There are three critical emergency criteria for which it can be used: alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life, AMBER alerts, or Presidential alerts.  You have likely received such alerts pertaining to hazardous weather and/or an AMBER alert.  Those are geographically-targeted message which do not necessarily stress the system; the October 3 Presidential Alert test will. 

This ‘Presidential Alert’ test should not be considered or seen by anyone as a political act.  Instead, I would humbly ask folks to take the opportunity to become more aware of the WEA technology as well as Norfolk Alert here in our community: https://www.norfolk.gov/index.aspx?nid=4137. (For those who live/work outside of Norfolk, visit http://readyhamptonroads.org/ to find your locality's alert system).  Some incidents will require a Norfolk Alert and some a Wireless Emergency Alert and thus you should be familiar with both.  As far as any political concerns go, put me on the record for believing emphatically alert systems must never be used for political messages. Ever. And if that were to occur, it would be a profound disappointment and render the tool worthless.

Lastly, please remember we should talk with our children about such preparedness-related issues so they too can be informed.  FEMA has an activity brochure focused on WEA available here.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Thank you!


Jim Redick
Director, Norfolk EOC