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Emergency Management Coordinator
Emily A. Ashley
(804) 796-7068

Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator
Sherri Laffoon
(804) 796-7159 

Public Outreach & CERT Coordinator
Jessica Robison
(804) 748-1236

Phone Numbers
Fax (804) 751-9022
CERT (804) 751-CERT

8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Monday - Friday

Mailing Address
Chesterfield County Emergency Management
P. O. Box 40
Chesterfield, VA  23832

Emergency Management
Frequently Asked Questions for Emergency Management

What is emergency management?  

No matter what disaster or incident occurs, emergency management involves a constantly revolving cycle of four key elements

  • prepare
  • respond
  • recover
  • mitigate

What hazards is Chesterfield County susceptible to?  

Chesterfield County is susceptible to a variety of threats, both man-made and natural. Examples of these include but are not limited to:

  • hurricanes
  • tornadoes
  • chemical
  • hazardous material spills
  • ice or snow storms
  • acts of terrorism

If I spot a potential disaster, whom should I contact?  

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1

  • Report non-emergencies to 748-1251.

What are the differences between natural and man-made disasters?  

  • Natural events
    • may be more predictable depending on seasonal weather patterns.
    • often give us time to prepare as most, but not all, escalate from smaller events.
    • Examples of natural disasters include wind events such as hurricanes and tropical storms, tornadoes, ice/snow storms, severe thunderstorms and earthquakes.
  • Man-made emergencies
    • are less predictable and often occur without warning with a faster speed of onset.
    • Examples of man-made events include chemical or hazardous material spills, hostage situations, or acts of terrorism.

What do I do when there's a weather alert / watch / warning for Chesterfield County?  

First, understand the terms. The National Weather Service issues alerts when dangerous weather conditions can potentially affect an area, or are in immediate danger of affecting an area.


  • A watch is used when there is a risk of hazardous weather (thunderstorm, tornado or flooding).
  • When a watch is issued, keep an eye on the weather.
  • Be ready to enact your plan if it becomes necessary to do so.


  • A warning is issued when hazardous weather (thunderstorm, tornado or flooding) is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring.
  • A warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property.
  • When a thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued, take cover on the lowest level of your home, in an interior room.
  • If your home is in danger of flooding, move to higher ground immediately.

When is hurricane season?  

Hurricane season is June 1st through November 30th in the Atlantic and May 15th through November 30th in the Eastern Pacific.

  • However, it is possible for tropical storms to occur outside of those date ranges.

How can I prepare my family for a disaster?  

Chesterfield County residents need to prepare now for emergencies and disasters. There are simple, low-cost steps families can take to be ready

Visit sites such as ready.gov, fema.gov, readyvirginia.gov, and weather.gov for additional information.

What items should we keep in our emergency kit?  

  • There should be enough supplies in your disaster kit to make each member of your family self-sufficient for at least three days.
  • This should include water, food, a first-aid kit, flashlights, batteries, medicines, and a battery-powered radio or television.
  • Visit Get a Kit for more information.

In the event of a disaster and I have to evacuate my home, where do I go?  

  • Any public school can be used as a shelter.
  • High schools are chosen first because of their available resources.
  • Other criteria for opening a school for a shelter would include proximity to the event.
  • Be sure to take items such as medications, blankets, clothes, and identification to the shelter.

Sign up for Chesterfield Alert for information about shelters before, during and after an emergency event.

Why do we need out-of-town contacts in emergencies?  

  • During and after a disaster local infrastructure could become disrupted.
  • Local phone lines may be inundated with calls, while long distance phone lines remain open.
  • It may be easier to reach out-of-town contacts that have not been affected by the incident.
  • Make sure you keep a card with contact numbers and names with your kit, as well as in your cars.
  • A pre-paid, long distance phone card may also be a good idea.

How can I prepare my pets for emergencies?  

  • Like humans, pets will need food and other supplies in the event of an emergency.
  • Make sure you have a supply of food, water, bowls, toys, prescriptions, litter and a box, as well as a leash and crate.
  • Make copies of all vaccinations and medical records as well.

Are pets allowed in the shelters?  

Pets brought to emergency shelters are taken to the county’s animal shelter and will be cared for in an area separate from the daily animal population until it is safe for residents to take their pets home.

What does it mean to “Shelter-In-Place?”  

You are to remain in your home or office (wherever you are at the time of the emergency) and protect yourself there.

  • If there is a threat of contaminated outside air, seal doors, windows and vents and turn off all fans and heating and air-conditioning units.
  • Go to an interior room.
  • Listen or watch local radio and television stations to stay updated on the latest information.

Where can I find updated County specific information during a disaster?  

  • Libraries will be utilized as information stations during a disaster.
  • Additional county-specific disaster information will be posted to the county website www.chesterfield.gov.
  • Chesterfield County is also on Facebook. “Like” our page and you will receive county-specific information there as well.

What is an EOC?  

The Emergency Operations Center is where the Emergency Management Coordinator and other key individuals meet during a disaster.

  • With a central location, all individuals involved in making decisions reference the response and recovery from a particular incident coordinate their efforts.

Does Chesterfield County have an Emergency Operations Plan?  

Yes, the county has an Emergency Operations Plan.

  • State Law requires that it be updated annually and readopted every 4 years.

How can I help my community during a disaster?  

In the event that an emergency happens in Chesterfield County, volunteer organizations will likely be deployed to assist citizens and help with the recovery process.

To get involved and volunteer

  • Chesterfield County’s Community Emergency Response Team , or CERT, program is based on the American tradition of “Neighbors Helping Neighbors Prepare for Emergencies.”
    • CERT training prepares citizens and communities to take more active roles in the county’s emergency-preparedness efforts.
  • Contact your local American Red Cross, Medical Reserve Corps, or other volunteer organization.

Who do I contact if my elderly mother who is on oxygen loses power for an extended period of time?  

  • The first choice would be to have a family member or caregiver take your relative someplace that will support his or her needs.
  • After a disaster, libraries or other county facilities may be opened to allow for recharging the batteries in medical equipment.
  • If someone is experiencing a medical problem due to the loss of power, he or she should call 911.

Where do local facilities send copies of their annual Tier II reports?  

Facilities covered by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requirements must submit an Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Form (Tier II) to the

  • Local Emergency Planning Committee
  • State Emergency Response Commission
  • local fire department annually

Facilities located in Chesterfield County submit Tier II reports to

Fire and Emergency Medical Service
6731 Mimms Loop
Chesterfield, VA 23832

Who should I contact for more information about emergency preparedness?  

  • Emily A. Dillon, Emergency Management Coordinator, 804-796-7068
  • Sherri A. Laffoon, Emergency Management Deputy Coordinator, 804-796-7159