Emergency Preparedness and Response in Norfolk, VA


People are drawn to life near the water for scenic views and access to recreational activities such as fishing and swimming. However, Jim Redick says, coastal residents are having to learn to take the good with the bad as sea level rises: “The water brings us our prosperity…but there are things we are going to have to accept if we are going to live with it.”

Redick, the Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response for the City of Norfolk, spoke to the VCPC students on October 30 about his work in coordinating the City’s response to recurrent flooding and other emergencies —even disasters.

Disasters such as flooding and extreme storm events require coordination among agencies to get a timely and orchestrated response. Redick works to identify gaps in capabilities and help the community communicate to establish a mutual aid process where the City’s limited resources and critical infrastructure can be leveraged for more comprehensive threat responses.

“During sunny skies, let’s talk about the what-if scenario,” says Redick. He explained to the VCPC students how Norfolk had prepared for Hurricane Sandy and the impact of 12-ft storm surges. Although the brunt of the storm by-passed Norfolk and hit farther north, it served as a training exercise for Norfolk to plan for eventualities of similar events. Says Redick, “Norfolk really has taken a lead for all of Virginia.”

Jim Redick also served as Co-Chair of the Secure Commonwealth Panel’s Sub-Panel on Recurrent Flooding and will be presenting its findings to the Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission at its next meeting at the VCPC December 5th conference on “Adaptive Planning for Flooding and Coastal Change in Virginia.” The conference will be held at William & Mary. To register for the conference or for more information, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/adaptive-planning-for-flooding-and-coastal-change-in-virginia-registration-13826085193.


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