RD423 - Annual Report on the Commonwealth’s Emergency Shelter Capabilities and Readiness - October 2016

Executive Summary:
Virginia is vulnerable to a variety of hazards and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management is working diligently to ensure localities and the Commonwealth have adequate plans to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee’s (JLARC) report Review of Disaster Preparedness Planning in Virginia (2013) identified several findings, including inadequate sheltering capacity in the Hampton Roads region in the event of a category 3 hurricane. This report outlines the state, local, and regional efforts to date to improve sheltering capacity and overall sheltering and mass care capabilities with the Commonwealth. Recommendations for closing remaining gaps and improving long term strategies are listed below, and described in greater detail in this report.

• Use the industry standard planning percentage of 10 percent for shelter planning.

• Identify additional sheltering options when developing the sheltering strategy, including locally-initiated and Commonwealth-initiated regional shelters.

• Co-lead the Virginia Mass Care Task Force development of a comprehensive, integrated sheltering strategy that effectively augments and enhances local and regional sheltering capabilities.

• Re-evaluate the State-Managed Shelter Plan and identify more feasible alternatives for state support of sheltering.

• Identify shelter facilities using an all-hazards approach.

• Increase the number of available shelter facilities in regions that currently do not have adequate capacity.

• Create resource and asset packages to support local and regional shelters, and preposition them when possible to ensure availability and rapid deployment.

• Identify additional shelter staffing resources and create a flexible system that allows localities to request the staffing help the localities need, when it needs it.

• Promote grant funding opportunities for shelter retrofits and enhancements.

• Identify or develop shelter specific training to address identified training gaps, including just-in-time disability integration training.