‘Ready to go’: State crews keep an eye out for damage from Ophelia
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has been monitoring Tropical Storm Ophelia since Friday.
All day and night on Saturday, crews like Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and even the Department of Social Services are all in the emergency operations center. When major storms threaten our area, the state department of emergency management monitors what’s happening throughout the commonwealth, 24 hours a day.
On Saturday, Ophelia brought rain and wind, and made it a little chillier, but it was difficult to predict the damage it would cause, which is why state crews were on standby this weekend to help with any major incident.
“Emergencies and disasters start and end on a local level and if the locality themselves can handle it, they will. They won’t get state involved unless it’s a big enough scale type situation,” said Katie Carter, the communications manager for VDEM.
If there are trees down and debris blocking a major road and your county doesn’t have enough resources to handle it, they call VDEM.
“You call your local resources and your local 911, and 911 calls us,” Carter explained.
In addition to the teams working together at the main headquarters building, Carter said 35 national guardsmen are deployed throughout Virginia.
“Tactical highwater vehicles for high water rescue, we also have chainsaw crews that are ready for debris removal if that’s the case,” she said.
If the emergency operations center loses power, the backup generator will make sure the crews don’t skip a beat.
“We know that if that happens, our operations here will not stop serving the commonwealth, so we’re definitely ready to go,” said Carter.
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