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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Message from Governor Warner to Virginians

From Virginia.Gov:

Governor Warner’s Chief of Staff, William H. Leighty, Jr., is en route today at the request of the office of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco to establish a task force to coordinate state-to-state assistance. Leighty played a key role in coordinating Virginia’s response to Hurricane Isabel in 2003, and he is scheduled to remain in Louisiana for two weeks.

Governor Warner convened a telephone conference call today with representatives of 30 faith-based organizations, updating the state’s response and suggesting ways the faith community across Virginia can respond in an organized, timely way. The Virginia Department of Social Services has established a task force to work with the faith community on an inventory of available housing and transportation options.

The Virginia Department of Social Services is working to inventory available resources to assist residents of the affected states with services for the disabled, the elderly, and children who might be in need of shelter, treatment, or other services.

On Wednesday, the Governor activated the Virginia Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to track relief efforts and offers of assistance from Virginia state agencies, other entities, and citizens. To activate the EOC, the Governor declared a limited state of emergency, and the EOC is staffed around the clock by representatives from a number of state agencies.

EOC currently is coordinating requests for National Guard water purification equipment with operators, National Guard commercial diesel and gasoline fuelers with operators, and teams to assist with assessing food safety, food salvage, and drinking water issues.

Approximately 120 Soldiers of the 229th Military Police Company, Virginia Army National Guard, stationed in Virginia Beach; approximately 25 Airmen of the 192nd Security Force Squadron, Virginia Air National Guard, stationed in Sandston; and 2 Airmen from the 192nd Fighter Wing Unit Ministry Team, Virginia Air National Guard, also stationed in Sandston, were called to active duty yesterday, awaiting deployment in support of recovery operations in Louisiana.

In preparation for possible deployment to the storm-stricken Gulf States, the Virginia State Police will begin immunizing personnel today. To be eligible to provide assistance in Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama, all public safety responders are required to receive certain shots: Volunteers should get a tetanus/diphtheria shot if they have not had one within the last 10 years. Medical volunteers who will be performing direct patient care or otherwise expected to have contact with body fluids should be immunized against Hepatitis B.

A Virginia State Police helicopter and two pilots arrived at the Louisiana State Police aviation hangar in Baton Rouge late Thursday. The BK117 helicopter is equipped with a hoist to provide search and rescue support. The helicopter crew can also assist with aerial surveillance, transportation and additional law enforcement-related missions.

Virginia state employees can provide financial support to those displaced or injured through the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC), the authorized workplace giving campaign for the state workforce. The participating CVC charities designated to receive employee contributions are The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has 36 “Tiger Teams” on standby to assist in debris clearance and road repair.

Approximately 20 personnel from the Virginia Department of Forestry have been deployed to the Gulf Coast to help in debris removal.

Governor Warner has issued an Executive Order relaxing weight and other restrictions on trucks carrying vital resources and supplies through Virginia to the impacted region.

Additionally, the Governor has requested that Virginia colleges and universities develop plans to accept students enrolled in hurricane-affected institutions. The Virginia Department of Education has asked local superintendents to prepare for displaced K-12 students who may be relocating to Virginia, in accordance with federal law.

The Department of Housing and Community Development has asked Virginia’s manufactured housing industry to increase its production to help provide affordable housing in the Gulf states as soon as possible.

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