PORTSMOUTH -- Health department workers are knocking on doors and ringing bells throughout the city this week.

They are trying to gauge how well people are prepared for disasters, including any that a hurricane or a tornado could create.

'We're really here just to collect data so we really can help you not only in times of emergencies but also just in everyday life, to make sure you can live a nice and healthy, long, and safe life here in Portsmouth,' explained Jessica Mullen, Senior Health Educator with the Portsmouth Health Department.

PHD is the first in Virginia to use the Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) survey.

Questions cover things such as if you have an emergency plan in place, if you or your family members have special medical needs or chronic diseases, and if you have transportation.

'If we do have a location where we do know that maybe we do have a large amount of people for whatever reason don't have access to a personal vehicle during an emergency, then we can work with agencies to make sure that those people are reached.'

'I just see that they're really trying to figure out who knows what, what areas know where to go as far as shelter,' said Jessica Jackson who lives in Churchland and took the survey Tuesday.'I like the fact that they just didn't stick to certain neighborhoods, that they came to the meat of the neighborhoods.'

Besides gathering information about emergency preparedness, people will collect information about general safety, physical activity, and nutrition in households and in neighborhoods. Mullen said the latter will help the health department serve people during non-emergency times and improve the quality of life throughout the city.

People began the question asking Monday and they will wrap things up Wednesday. Anyone conducting the survey will be wearing a light blue vest with 'Health Department' on the back and they also will be wearing identification badges.

The neighborhoods were selected at random.

Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends on November 30.

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