Del. Rich Anderson Visits FEMA-VDEM Joint Field Office
~Delegate Hosted by Federal and State Emergency Management Officials in Richmond~
~Briefings and Discussions Focused on Hurricane Sandy and Potentially Severe Winter Weather~
RICHMOND – Delegate Richard L. Anderson (R-Prince William) was hosted in Richmond on Wednesday afternoon by federal and state emergency management officials at the Commonwealth’s Joint Field Office (JFO), jointly manned and operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM).
The meeting included briefings and discussions on emergency relief operations from late October to the present during Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged major portions of Virginia. Relief operations on behalf of Virginia families and communities are expected to continue for several more months before conclusion of post-Sandy actions. Additionally, Del. Anderson’s meeting focused on potentially severe winter weather that may lie ahead for Prince William County during the coming winter months.
Anderson was hosted by federal coordinating officials and by Mr. Brett Burdick, VDEM’s Deputy Commonwealth Coordinating Officer, and by George Roarty, JFO Operations Sections Chief from VDEM.
Relief operations during Hurricane Sandy were focused on ensuring the safety, health, and welfare of Virginia residents and mitigating damage to homes, businesses, and other property. In the aftermath of Sandy, the focus shifted to assisting communities with requests for assistance and to restoring key infrastructure to normal operations.
In discussing VDEM’s role during Hurricane Sandy, Anderson expressed the appreciation of his Prince William County neighbors for the assistance provided by VDEM. Anderson stated that “the frequent updates that you provided to me and other elected and appointed officials in Northern Virginia made it possible for us to keep our constituents informed about the extent of the disaster and how to best deal with the storm. In my own case, I was able to distribute email updates to 10,000 residents of the district I represent. VDEM made that possible by updating me and others on a regular basis.”
In addition to discussing lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy and how those lessons can help to mitigate human suffering and property damage in future disasters, Anderson and his hosts discussed the coming winter weather. In 2010, a significant snow storm struck Northern Virginia, paralyzing the region. In preparation for potentially severe winter weather over the next several months, Anderson explored ways in which he can better connect with VDEM and FEMA emergency planners and pass information to his fellow residents in Prince William County.
In discussing the coming winter, Anderson stated that “the winter storm of 2010 hit while we were in Richmond for the regular legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly. My staff and I found ourselves on the phone nearly continuously over a four-day period talking to our constituents back home and working with the Virginia Department of Transportation to put snow plows into areas that had not been plowed for the first four days of the storm. I learned quite a bit then and learned a lot from today’s visit that will help speed assistance to our neighbors, if we experience a bad storm in January and February in Prince William County.”