Thursday, April 11, 2013


Some women knit in their spare time. Goochland native Robin Hillman thinks about disaster. No, she's not a Doomsday Prepper, but rather one of the county's unsung treasures.

Hillman, who has been a Goochland FIre-Rescue volunteer since she was a teenager, has a very unsual set of skills and interests. She excels at visualizing the impact of different kinds of disasters on the county, and how to best mitigate whatever happens, which now includes earthquakes.

She received an honorable mention as a 2012 Citizen Corps Superstar from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Dominion Virginia Power. At their April 8 meeting, Goochland's supervisors recognized Hillman for her contributions to the county.

Hillman was instrumental in creation of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), which works with county businesses to identify hazardous materials and create a database to help first responders avoid dangerous situations. The LEPC also encourages safe hazardous materials practices and helps county companies craft strategies to mitigate the impact of disasters on their operations. This could be something as simple as establishing an alternate location to ensure continuation of operations during a prolonged power failure.

Hillman was also the moving force behind the creation of the county's Citizen Corps about a decade ago. In addition to offering annual Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) training classes, the Citizen Corps has trained county volunteers in shelter operations. These folks work with Social Services to staff the emergency shelter at the high school. This provides refuge for people who cannot stay in their homes for reasons like power failures and flooding. She also worked to create a shelter where evacuees can bring their pets.

Last year, Hillman helped organize and host s Survivor Day to provide disaster preparedness information to citizens. A similar event will be held later this year.

As Deputy Director for Emergency Operations, Hillman is an integral part of the county's Emergency Operations Center, which is activated during times of emergency to coordinate all of the county's resources for maximum effectiveness.

She regularly designs and coordinates disaster drills to help agencies and responders get a feel for the kind of situations they may encounter following a disaster and learn to collaborate dealing with the aftermath.

Hillman, who is a high level executive with a Richmond based business, literally took her avocation to work and has helped make her company as disaster resistant as possible.

She graciously thanked the supervisors for the opportunity to use her interests to serve the community. We thank her.

Board of Supervisor's Chairman, Kendall Peterson, District 5, and Robin Hillman.

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