Members of the Hampton Roads All Hazards Advisory Committee’s Inclusive Emergency Planning Subcommittee (IEP) were invited to speak at the annual Regional Richmond Shelter Team training on November 14 at the Richmond City Council Chambers.
Scott Mahone (Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator in Norfolk and Chair of the IEP Subcommittee), Cheryl Simpson (Operations Manager of the Endependence Center), and Jenny Redick (Inclusion Emergency Planner at the HRPDC) provided a briefing on the Hampton Roads, Let’s Get Ready Together – Regional Emergency Shelter Exercises for People with Disabilities and Other Access / Functional Needs. These full-scale exercises (the first of their kind in Virginia) took place on the Southside and Peninsula and involved residents with disabilities and other access/functional needs. The exercises provided both participants and emergency planners a realistic and helpful learning experience. Emergency planners took away lessons about sheltering citizens with unique needs while citizens gained insight on what to expect when utilizing city shelters.
Paul Hundley, Emergency Planner for the City of Richmond, invited the Hampton Roads team to help promote regional lessons learned and increase collaborative emergency sheltering efforts. A robust information sharing and Q&A sessions between the IEP Subcommittee members and Richmond’s emergency planners were also part of the day’s training. Hampton Roads’ IEP Subcommittee members were appreciative of the opportunity to gain insight into Richmond’s emergency sheltering program and take information back to the Hampton Roads Region. Stakeholders in the briefing expressed their gratitude for the information provided.
“I have heard very positive feedback and hope it translates into actions we can take to experience a similar exercise in the future,” said Hundley, in a follow up email to the IEP Subcommittee members.