New Emergency Preparedness Web Site to be Launched

September 03, 2008

September 3, 2008 — A shared regional Web site that will serve as a first stop for information and resources during a community emergency is being launched in time for Hurricane Hanna's anticipated arrival in Virginia.

The site, www.communityemergency.org, is a partnership among the University of Virginia, Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville. It was announced today by Bob Tucker, Albemarle County executive; and Gary O’Connell, Charlottesville city manager; and Leonard Sandridge, U.Va. executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“We have all seen the potentially devastating effects of disasters on communities that were not prepared in advance or not adequately informed during the process of an emergency,”  said Aubrey Watts, chairman of the Regional Emergency Communications Center Board and Assistant Charlottesville City Manager. "The launch of the Web site is particularly appropriate as we enter September — Emergency Preparedness Month — and as several potentially significant storms could threaten our community in the upcoming days,"

The Web site brings together links and educational resources to help students, residents and businesses prepare for emergencies or critical incidents.  It also offers a new vehicle for officials to communicate important information during an emergency.

“We see the launching of communityemergency.org as an important partnership in connecting our residents and providing easy access to critical emergency information which may prove especially timely during this already active hurricane season.” Tucker said.

Sections of the site focus on emergency preparedness for a variety of potential emergency situations and offer direct access to local media.

Users will find links to emergency information from U.Va., Charlottesville, Albemarle County, the National Weather Service and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, among other resources.

Also, they will be able to sign up for weather and alerts from the Weather Channel, traffic and travel information from the Virginia Department of Transportation, RSS feeds from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, email  updates from the Department of Homeland Security and RSS Feeds from the Department of Homeland Security.

"The university considers the safety and security of our students, staff and faculty a top priority," Sandridge said. "This new partnership with the county and city builds on the already strong relationship that has been established over the years in our community. It also complements other University safety initiatives including U.Va. Alerts, message boards and our appointment of an emergency preparedness director."