COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- The American Red Cross is encouraging Virginia residents to prepare their homes and themselves for hurricane season, as the U.S. braces for the first tropical storm on the year.
"You should always be prepared because you never know what tomorrow may bring," said Christy Carneal with the American Red Cross.
Hurricane season lasts six months, starting on June 1 and ending on November 30.
Carneal says now is the time to prepare a simple yet effective disaster kit.
"It's really hard to get ready for the storm after it hits," she explained.
Many people wait until the storm is approaching to get ready but now is the time to head to the store before the crowds.
Carneal says you need things like blankets, first aid kits, flashlights, and batteries.
When it comes to water, you need one gallon per person, per day and a big enough supply to last three to five days.
In terms of an approaching storm, preparations are key but often times people can get themselves in harm's way.
"We see people once they try to evacuate, they don't go far enough inland," said Deputy Fire Chief Wayne Hoover with Colonial Heights Fire & EMS.
Hoover says residents should also make sure they have any medications and prescriptions for themselves and their family.
Officials also advise residents to create -- or review -- their storm plan.
"Make sure you've got contact with the person, make sure they know your travel time, your expected route and you maintain communications with that person," Hoover added.