Crews test communications, prepare for hurricane evacuation

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Hurricane season is less than a month away. In case Virginians need to evacuate, state agencies want to make sure roads are clear so people can arrive to their destination safely.

Emergency personnel must be on their A-game. They're testing radio communications between different vehicles on the ground and in the air to prepare for an emergency evacuation.

"It's important we make sure communication works so we can take care of problems as quickly as possible," said Virginia Department of Emergency Management Director of Public Affairs, Bob Spieldenner.

The Department of Emergency Management is working with the National Guard and other state agencies to fix challenges when re-routing people along I-64.

The Virginia Defense Force can set up a communication post basically anywhere it needs to be. Right now, crews have Internet connections and phones set up. The National Guard uses a special tracking system so it knows where each unit is on the ground.

State Police and National Guard were stationed at a few interchanges along I-64 to test communications back to the mobile command post at the I-64/295 interchange. It's the same spot crews will reverse I-64 East making all lanes travel west during an evacuation. Depending on the strength of the storm, and the number of people heading evacuating, an average trip could take six to 10 hours.

It's just one more reason to test mobile communications now so people can evacuate safely in the future.