BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – Bedford County emergency responders and county management continue to prepare for what could be long days ahead in dangerous conditions if Hurricane Florence brings flooding and high winds to southwest Virginia.
"The difficult piece is we don't really have a grasp on the type of storm or when it's going to arrive, so that's a little difficult in your planning," said Chief Jack Jones Jr., of Bedford County Fire and Rescue. "We're working with a lot of our partner organizations within Bedford County management."
It's been a busy week for them as they assess the impact Florence could have on people in Bedford County.
"You just want to make sure you're getting the information out that they need and start planning everything that could potentially occur during that event," said Deputy Chief Janet Blankenship, of Bedford County Fire and Rescue.
That planning has included making sure fire and rescue crews have the supplies they need and that crews are ready to go.
"Our folks are usually in a routine state of readiness, but when you're faced with a major event coming, to go out and double-check all of the boats and personal flotation devices and make sure you've got light sticks and charged flashlights and make sure spare tires for the trailers and the different devices we need to pull around the community, to really increase that state of readiness," Jones said.
County officials stressed they're ready to help once the storm hits, but they cannot assist residents in life-threatening conditions.
"If we're looking at potential of 100 mph winds, we're not going to have apparatus out in that," Jones said. "That's a no-win for anyone."
Emergency responders encourage people to get their emergency supplies and readiness plan together now for what could be to come.
"The word is 'unprecedented' event that we could be seeing," Blankenship said. "So definitely pre-planning that, so if they need to go stay with another family member in another area, we would encourage them to do so for life safety. For their own personal safety."
Residents can find updates on Bedford County's hurricane response and resources to prepare for the storm at bedfordcountyva.gov.