First responders prepare ahead of winter storm

Posted at 2:50 PM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 17:22:24-05

Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) - First responders across Hampton Roads are getting ready for what could be a busy weekend ahead with the pending winter storm.

Virginia Beach District Fire Chief Michael Barakey says the city has been in constant communication with Virginia Department of Emergency Management officials ahead of the storm.

Barakey says they are preparing to deal with any issues that may arise, including downed power lines and tidal flooding, and are urging citizens to be ready as well.

He says the firefighters who respond to emergency calls over the next few days will be contending with less than ideal conditions.

"These guys are working for 24 hours and imagine you’re going to your mailbox one time during a rain or snow event and come back in and being cold and getting hot chocolate and trying to recover. These guys are out for 24 hours. Their gear gets soaked and saturated. Their body gets to be cold and chilled," Barakey told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Thursday.

The American Red Cross is also urging folks to get ready ahead of time and be prepared.

"You want to be safe right now. You don’t want to travel if you don’t have to. You want to stay ahead of the situation. Don’t use your stove as heat for you, download our Red Cross app," shared Kristen Hatfield with the Red Cross.

First responders say emergency response can be slower during weather events, so it is critical when there is an emergency to call for help immediately.