Local Hazards & Family Disaster Planning

Local Hazards

All communities are subject to natural and man-made disasters and should take steps to identify and plan for those incidents that are most likely to occur. In the past, the main threats to the Town of Bedford have been weather related. It is recommended that citizens prepare family and/or business disaster plans based on the identified threats. In addition, they should keep enough supplies to last at least three days. When preparing, citizens need to realized that government services are often interrupted during major disasters. As a result, they should be prepared to survive without these services for a minimum of 3 days.

Main Hazards / Potential Threats

While actual occurrences are rare, the main hazards identified as possible threats to the Town are:
  • Straight line winds and tornadoes
    • Hazards include down trees and electric lines, structural damage to buildings, blowing objects and debris blocking streets
  • Thunderstorms
    • Lightning and flooding of low areas are possible during these events
  • Transportation crashes/accidents
    • Like most communities, Bedford has several major highways and a rail service passing through resulting in the possibility of an accident resulting in hazardous material release/spill
  • Winter storms, especially ice storms/freezing rain
    • Major problems include power outages and hazardous streets due to ice buildup

For those concerned about our local or state response to an influenza pandemic or so-called "bird flu," we recommend you see a 15-minute video from the Virginia Department of Health on this subject.

Family Disaster Planning

Information relating to family disaster planning can be obtained from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Brochures that will help families to develop disaster plans are available from the Bedford Police Department. It is recommended that families prepare disaster kits which include the following supplies:
  • A 3-day supply of water and food that will not spoil.
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries
  • Extra pair of glasses for each family member, if needed
  • A first aid kit that includes the family's medications
  • One change of clothing, footwear, blanket or sleeping bag per person
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members

See a short film about family preparedness from FEMA (Windows Media Player format).