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Gearing up for Hurricane Season: A New Planning Tool and Registry for Those with Medical Functional Needs

Gearing up for Hurricane Season: A New Planning Tool and Registry for Those with Medical Functional Needs

By Jenny Redick and Robert Lawrence

A new website in the region can help those who have special medical or functional needs plan for emergencies this hurricane season. provides pertinent planning tools and access to the voluntary Medical Needs Registry for residents in the Hampton Roads area. The website and registry were developed by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission’s Regional Emergency Management Technical Advisory Committee (REMTAC).

Information collected through the registry helps local officials plan for the needs of the community, such as developing appropriate alerting systems, enhancing shelter services and coordinating transportation solutions. Those who register at are mailed a free information packet.  Registry information is confidential and used only for emergency management planning and response. Alternate formats of the registry form are available upon request.

There are several great resources on the website:

•    A Get Prepared video in English and Spanish and American Sign Language, which explains how three families who have medical and functional needs have created emergency plans, is available at

•    A free Get Prepared iPhone application, which provides tips and checklists for taking basic steps to preparedness: get a kit, make a plan and stay informed.  The application also explains how best to shelter, evacuate and prepare families and support systems. This free iPhone app can be found at the Apple Store or

The website and iPhone application provide contact information for local emergency management offices, as well as helpful preparedness resource websites.  The registry is specifically designed to help residents and emergency officials in the Hampton Roads region plan for emergencies.  The sixteen participating localities are the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg, and the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, Surry and York.

This project is funded under a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Grant Programs Directorate (FEMA/GPD) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Points of view or opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of FEMA/GPD or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), one of 21 Planning District Commissions in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a regional organization providing a forum for the sixteen local governments in southeastern Virginia to address emergency preparedness, economic analysis, comprehensive planning and regulatory compliance in a cooperative fashion.

Contact information for the Hampton Roads Medical Needs Registry:
Phone (VOICE):  757-420-8300
Phone (TTY):  757-390-2578