Andy Shaver is Executive Director of the Harrisonburg Red Cross. When it comes to winter storms his motto is simple.
"Fear for the worst and hope for the best," he said.
With severe winter weather brewing, area agencies are on guard.
"The American Red Cross is there when disaster strikes. When a major snow storm comes through we make sure people are fed, clothed and sheltered," Shaver said.
City and county officials are just as prepared. Harrisonburg, Rockingham, Staunton and Augusta all have state-approved emergency plans to help their communities in need.
"The plan's there. It's effective and it works well. And when the time comes to implement it, we're ready to do that," said Harrisonburg Fire Chief Larry Shifflett.
In the case of a severe power outage, listen for community advisories on the radio. An emergency shelter will be established in your area stocked with food, clothing and cots.
Schools are usually used because they are spacious and equipped with cafeterias and back up generators. But Shifflett said you should stay off the roads until they're cleared and those emergency shelters are available.
Officials said there are things you can also do. Winterizing your car, stocking your home with groceries and making sure your furnace is working properly. But, you should always be careful with portable stoves and candles. And don't burn unapproved substances like charcoal in your home.
And it's a good idea to have a snow shovel and a supply of salt handy. And check those battery-operated devices like flashlights and portable radios.
"And if families have done all they can do in preparing at home, we'll be there for them, too," adds Shifflett.
If severe weather does strike, a phone number for your emergency operation center will be broadcast on the road. And, Dominion Power already has crews out in case power lines do go down.