The Department of Emergency Services’ Emergency Management Division promotes a comprehensive emergency management program to mitigate the community’s impacts from manmade, natural or technological disasters and potential catastrophic incidents by utilizing mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery strategies.

Greg Hunter
Emergency Services Coordinator
(804) 785-5891
Email Greg Hunter

How to Develop Your Emergency Plan

Emergencies and disasters can strike anywhere at anytime. Sometimes, they can happen without warning, forcing residents to take shelter in their homes or evacuate their neighborhoods with little or no warning. Weathering these types of situations successfully requires that you understand what a disaster could mean for you and your family.

The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) provides a worksheet to help you get started. FEMA also provides information on emergency preparedness for military families.

  • First, determine the types of disasters/emergencies that are most likely to happen and what to do in each case.
  • After a disaster, it’s often easier to place long distance calls than to get a local call to connect. Identify an out-of-town friend or relative to be your family emergency contact. All family members should call this person in an emergency to check in.
  • Your entire family should know the name and contact information for your emergency contact. Don’t rely on cell phones; supply coins and prepaid phone cards as well.
  • Take a first aid, CPR or other class so that you’re prepared with the knowledge to help yourself and others if needed.
  • If you don’t own a vehicle or drive, the city will provide transportation in a mandatory evacuation. But, if you want to go to a shelter or leave town if evacuation is not mandatory, you’ll need to make your own arrangements. Determine these in advance.
  • Decide where you and your family will meet in case you can’t return home. Keep a record of the location’s address and phone number, as well as the phone numbers of your family members, with you at all times.
  • Keep a visual or written record of your possessions to help you claim losses in the event of damage. Include photos of cars, boats and recreational vehicles. Get professional appraisals of jewelry, collectibles, artwork or other items that might be difficult to evaluate. Also, photograph the exterior of your home. Include the landscaping that might not be insurable, but does increase the value of your property for tax purposes. Make copies of receipts and canceled checks for valuable items.
  • Include pets in your emergency planning.
  • Talk to neighbors about how to work together in an emergency. Find out if anyone has specialized equipment (i.e. power generator) or expertise (i.e. doctor) that might help in a crisis. Decide who will check on elderly or disabled neighbors.
  • Check your home for materials and items that might pose a hazard during a disaster.
  • Locate and learn how to turn off utilities (i.e. gas, electricity, water) if necessary.
  • Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed with fresh batteries.
  • Equip your home with a water hose, fire extinguisher and generator.

Finally, make sure the entire family knows how to execute the disaster plan. This will help ensure the most efficient use of time and resources.


Emergency shelters should be considered a last option; a place to go if it is unsafe to stay at home and you are unable to ride out the storm with a friend or relative. If you do go to a shelter, know that they are often crowded. Be prepared to live in close quarters with strangers for several days. Secure your home and shut off utilities (water, gas, electricity) before leaving. Because each situation is unique, only certain shelters may be opened during an emergency. Local TV news programs and radio stations should have up-to-date information on shelter locations and opening times.

When necessary, King and Queen County may operate shelters in the following locations:

  • Lower King and Queen Vol. Fire Department: Located at 4764 York River Road near the intersection of York River and Stratton Major Roads (Route 605 & Route 601) in Gressitt. Get directions.
  • Central King and Queen Vol. Fire Department: Located at 398 Allens Circle at the intersection of The Trail and Allens Circle (Route 681 & Route 14). Get directions.
  • Walkerton Community Fire Association: Located at 2874 Walkerton Landing Road near the intersection of Walkerton Landing and Canterbury Roads (Route 629 and Route 634) in the village of Walkerton. Get directions.
  • King and Queen Rescue Squad: Located at 8982 Newtown Road at the intersection of Newtown Road and Indian Neck Road (Route 721 and Route 623). Get directions.

Shelters operate according to rules established by the locality and shelter organizations. Please familiarize yourself with these rules before going to a shelter. Click here for more information on sheltering.