Welcome to the official website for joint emergency communications from the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the University of Virginia. The City, County, and University, individually and collaboratively work to help prepare the local community for any possible emergency or critical incident and to communicate information in the event of an actual emergency or critical incident. This site offers links to timely information to help keep you, your family and/or business prepared for and informed during an emergency.

Register for Community Emergency Alerts

The Community Emergency Alert system is used by the Emergency Communications Center to notify residents and businesses of critical situations and provide information regarding necessary actions. With this system, a specific geographic area can be selected to send messages to those within that area. You can register to receive phone messages, text messages and e-mail messages in case of emergency. The system is TTY/TDD compatible.

You will know the call is from CodeRED Weather Warning when you see the telephone number 800-566-9780. Emergency Alert phone calls may also include numbers from an 866 area code.

Click ‘CodeRed’ below to sign up. Contact the Office of Emergency Management at 971-1263 or 970-1798 if you need help with registration for any reason (e.g., no computer, no e-mail, problems with the registration form, etc.)

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Prepare For Tornadoes

When it comes to tornadoes, there’s no such thing as a “tornado season.”  Tornadoes can strike anywhere, anytime, and you need to know the drill.

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. They can appear suddenly without warning and can be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. Be prepared to act quickly.

Register for the Virginia Statewide Tornado Drill

The Statewide Tornado Drill is a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.

The Statewide Tornado Drill is scheduled for Tuesday, March 21, at 9:45 a.m.  The Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle Office of Emergency Management encourages every family, business, organization, and school to participate in the annual statewide tornado drill.

Tornadoes are common in Virginia, so it is critical that everyone knows what to do when a tornado warning is issued.

To alert the community, the Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle Office of Emergency Management will send out a test alert through the CodeRED community emergency alert system. Additionally, the National Weather Service will send a test tornado warning through all NOAA Weather Radios. This will prompt local radio and TV stations to broadcast a test message.

When a tornado warning is issued:

  • Go immediately to a safe place – usually the lowest level of the building and away from windows – and stay there until the warning expires.
  • If there is no basement, go to a windowless interior room such as a closet, bathroom or interior hallway.
  • Crouch as low as possible to the floor, face down and cover your head with your hands.
  • Get instructions on how to hold a drill and register now for the Statewide Tornado Drill at http://www.vaemergency.gov/event/statewide-tornado-drill/

How to conduct a tornado drill:

Designate one or more people in your organization or home to coordinate your drill and have them follow the steps below.

Before the drill:

  • Inform people about the tornado drill.
  • Make sure they understand what will take place and where the safest place is.
  • The safest place typically is a building’s basement away from windows. If there is no basement, go to a windowless interior room such as a closet, bathroom, or interior hall on the lowest level of the building.

During the drill:

  • Announce the start of the drill through a public address system or by going room to room and floor by floor.
  • Have people move as quickly as possible to the nearest safe place. Use stairs to reach the lowest level of a building; avoid using elevators.
  • When people reach the safe area(s) inform them to crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down and cover their heads with their hands.
  • After everyone has sheltered, announce the tornado has passed and the drill is over.

After the drill:

  • Make note of any necessary changes in the shelter procedures.
    • Do more safe areas need to be identified?
    • Are some safe areas cluttered and need to be cleaned out to be more accessible?
    • Do people know the fastest routes to take to safe areas?
    • Is a better method for letting people know of an approaching tornado needed?


Pet Preparedness


1. Have a Plan

      • Plan ahead: talk to your neighbors, and see if they would be willing to take care of your pet if you are unable to do so
      • Know emergency phone numbers for pet care, medications, and boarding
      • Winter can be a good time to get your pets yearly wellness exam taken care of – cold weather can worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis
      • Based on the weather, you may need to shorten walks outside or provide a sweater for short-haired pets
      • For dairy cattle, know milk pick-up policy during inclement weather

2. Provide Proper Housing & Shelter

      • Many Shelters are not able to accept pets; plan for this ahead of time and understand nearby shelter policies
      • Bring pets indoors immediately in inclement weather
      • For livestock, have plenty of dry bedding to insulate vulnerable udders, genitals and legs from the frozen ground and frigid winds
      • Make sure to winterize any buildings that livestock might take shelter in; check roof structure and stability under snow accumulation and repair any leaks

3. Have an Evacuation Plan

      • Have any carriers, trailers, leashes, pet seat-belts, and harnesses necessary to transport your animals
      • Having your animals be accustomed to vehicle or trailer travel will make an evacuation easier
      • If your animals require a trailer to be moved, make sure you have either a trailer or access to one which you have worked out ahead of time, and personnel able to drive and maneuver it

4. Know Basic First Aid for Your Animals

      • Be aware of temperature related health dangers to your animals:
      • For Livestock:
        • Animals suffering from frostbite don’t exhibit pain. It may be up to two weeks before the injury becomes evident as the damaged tissue starts to slough away. At that point, the injury should be treated as an open wound and a veterinarian should be consulted.
      • For Household pets:
        • Ingesting anti-freeze can be fatal for your dog or cat. If you spill some, soak it up immediately
        • After a walk outside, wipe down pets’ feet so that they don’t like off and ingest any dangerous chemicals from salt or antifreeze on the street
        • Pets can get frostbite very easily on the ears, tail and paws. If your pet goes outdoors, be aware of the temperature and wind chill. Signs of frostbite include white, waxy, or pale appearance of affected areas with cold skin, sloughing, and loss of feeling
        • hypothermia is when the core temperature drops too low and brain functions are impaired. Signs of this include extreme shivering, slow or shallow breathing, blue or pale gums, or the animal being unresponsive.
        • If you believe your pet is suffering from hypothermia, slowly warm them starting with their core (not extremities)
        • Do not give your pet anything hot to drink; warm broth or food is much better.
      • Also, be aware of General first aid for your pet
        • https://www.avma.org/public/EmergencyCare/Pages/Basic-Pet-First-Aid-Procedures.aspx
      • If your pet has any medical conditions which require medication, make sure you understand its administration and ideally have a 2 week extra supply.

5. Provide & Store Water for at Least 3 Days

      • Make sure that you have stored water and a container for your pet to drink out of
      • As a general guideline, a healthy dog should drink between 1/2 and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight every day.
      • Cats generally require .7 to 1 oz of water per pound of body weight each day, including any water from food.
        • If you feed your cat wet food, it can be as much as 80% water, decreasing the amount of fluid water your cat will need.
      • Livestock needs vary greatly, but cattle can range anywhere from 4-21 gallons per head per day.
      • If you have an outdoor source of water for cattle, make sure that it remains unfrozen, and place sand or other gritty material on feedlots to give the cattle good footing on icy surface.

6. Have Enough Food for at Least 3 Days

      • Canned or moist food is a good choice because it will provide some hydration for your pet
      • Make sure that you are storing the food in airtight and waterproof cans or containers
      • Have a can-opener, or any other implements necessary to open the food container
      • Cattle roughly require 2 pounds of dry feed for every 100 pounds of body weight. However, in winter conditions, cows may require up to 20% more feed to remmain healthy.

7. Have Proper Documentation & Identification

      • Make sure your animal has tags with your contact information on them
      • Consider microchip tagging, especially for outdoor pets
      • Have all proof of ownership materials like registration, proof of purchase, adoption records, microchip information, and veterinary records easily available
      • Make sure that vaccination records are included in this
      • Have a current photograph of you with your animal for identification purposes should you be separated

Additional Resources

 Take a look at these links for more information on making sure you and your animals are prepared in an emergency:

Pet Preparedness:

Livestock Preparedness: