Archive by Author | Fairfax County Emergency Information

Be Prepared for Back-to-School and Emergencies

Posted at 3:30 p.m. 

School BusThe end of summer brings the start of another school year, full of opportunity to get involved in fresh activities and learn something new. Deciding on new school supplies and planning the outfit you’ll wear on the first day of school is part of being prepared. But, are your child(ren) and family prepared for emergencies?

The back-to-school season also presents the opportunity to get prepared for emergencies, especially as family routines oftentimes change during the school year and disasters may not occur while family is together.

Do you and your children know the following information without cellphone access? Is it handy in wallets, backpacks, briefcases and more?

  • Family phone numbers.
  • Addresses for home, school and work.
  • Meeting location (one near your house and outside your neighborhood).
  • Out-of-state contact for household members to notify they are safe.

Inquire about emergency plans at places where your family frequently spends their time:

  • Work.
  • Daycare and school.
  • Houses of worship.
  • Sports arenas and venues.

Involving your children in making your family’s emergency plan helps them know what to do and reduces stress during times of emergency. Make your family emergency plan at www.ReadyNOVA.org.

Shopping for school supplies? Pick up an extra backpack or use an old one and enjoy a family night of making emergency go-kits. Emergency kits need to be customized to each person’s individual needs.

Learn more about how to make an emergency kit at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/prepare/make-a-kit.htm

Two Years Ago: Waking Up in the Aftermath of the Derecho Storm

Posted 11:48 a.m.

Two years ago today, many of us woke up to no power, spotty cellphone service, 9-1-1 problems, downed trees and a host of other complications as the result of a derecho storm.

broken power line

Broken power lines in Fairfax County as a result of the derecho storm in 2012.

We continue to talk about the derecho storm two years later as it impacted many aspects of our emergency preparedness and response efforts. And we continue to conduct exercise drills so we’re better prepared:

We are preparing for the next weather event or emergency:

What preparations have you made?

We Need Everyone to Prepare

During widespread events such as the derecho, the government alone can’t respond immediately to long power outages, downed trees, hurricanes or people stuck in transit, especially across a county that’s 400 square miles.

To help, we’ve developed 30 easy ways for you to prepare, including:

  • Having cash and medicine on hand
  • Determining how much water you need
  • Two ways to get out of your home, workplace or faith community
  • Digital preparedness

Digital Preparedness

Digital preparedness is increasingly important and after the derecho, power and cell service were interrupted. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management created this quick visual to help us think about digital preparedness:

digital preparedness tips

Our new Fairfax Alerts system is now available, too. Please sign up for this new system so you can be informed of weather alerts and other critical information.

A Word About 9-1-1

One of the major impacts from the derecho was the inability to call 9-1-1. In this video, Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova discusses some of the changes made with Verizon, the region’s 9-1-1 carrier.

Video: Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is May 25-31

Posted at 3:55 p.m.

It’s smart to get ready for hurricane and flash flooding season, which arrives June 1. And it’s smart to save money.

You can do both by shopping for such products as batteries, food storage containers, generators, first-aid kits, bottled water, radios and more between May 25-31 during Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. When you do, you won’t pay sales tax on many useful products that cost up to $60 or on generators costing $1,000 or less. That’s a savings of 5 percent.

And gas-powered chainsaws that cost $350 or less and chainsaw accessories that cost $60 or less also are tax free — a new addition to this year’s sales tax holiday.

A complete list of exempt items available for purchase is online at www.tax.virginia.gov/salestaxholiday.

View List of Road Closures Today

Posted 8:12 a.m.

More than 30 roads (as of 7 a.m.) are closed due to flooding this morning.

As always, never drive through flooded roads. Turn around, don’t drown. Numerous swift water rescues have been conducted today.

 

Here are a few examples of flooded roads that have been tweeted today:

 

Heavy Rains Lead to Flash Flood Warning

Posted 7:37 a.m. // Updated 7:55 a.m.

Photo of car that did NOT turn around on a flooded road two weeks ago in the Chantilly area.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning until 10:15 a.m. because of all the rain we’ve received since last night. Excessive runoff from the heavy rain will cause flash flooding of small creeks, streams, urban areas, highways, streets, underpasses and other drainage areas and low lying spots.

UPDATE: List of road closures

Key safety tips to keep in mind:

  • If you’re driving, please do not drive through flooded roads. Turn around don’t drown. There have been some swift water rescues today.
  • Today is Bike to Work Day. If you’re still planning to bike to work, please be safe in areas with high water.
  • Please keep children away from creeks and streams as the water may rise quickly.

 

 

Roads are Wet – Drive Careful This Afternoon

Posted at 4:20 p.m.

Fairfax County and the surrounding areas have received a lot of rain in the past 24 hours, and while the intensity has decreased, rain is still falling in certain areas and roadways are wet, which affects your ability to quickly stop your vehicle during your afternoon commute.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind this afternoon and evening as you travel.

First, turn on your headlights and your windshield wipers. Your wipers are obvious, but unfortunately, many of us forget to turn on our headlights, which helps us be seen by others on these overcast, grey rainy days.

Once in your vehicle and on your way, remember to give yourself plenty of space around other vehicles. AAA Mid-Atlantic suggests on three-lane roads to drive in the middle lane. They say that most roads are higher in the middle, which means there’s a greater chance of water runoff and standing water in the side lanes.

Avoid Hydroplaning

Be sure to slow down when you see water standing on the surface of the pavement, especially on freeways. Also, drive in the tracks left by any vehicle ahead.

If hydroplaning does occur, do not brake. Instead, ease your foot off the accelerator to gradually decrease speed until your tires regain traction, and continue to look and steer where you want to go. In fact braking in wet conditions is tricky business. Sudden, hard or prolonged braking can cause a skid.

If your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS), all you need to do is press the brake pedal and hold it down. Do not pump the brakes, because ABS does that very rapidly for you. The system automatically senses if a wheel begins to lock and quickly releases and reapplies the brakes as many times as necessary to keep the wheel from locking up.

If your vehicle is not equipped with anti-lock brakes, the best way to brake under these conditions is to use squeeze braking. For squeeze braking, keep your heel on the floor and use your toes to apply pressure on the brake pedal. If the wheels lock, ease off the brake pedal to a point where they just release. Adjust pedal pressure as necessary. This gives you the best combination of braking effort and directional control.

Flood Warning and Flash Flood Watch

The National Weather Service has extended the Flood Warning for Fairfax County until 9 p.m. tonight and a Flash Flood Watch remains in effect through late tonight.

Rapidly moving water is powerful and can be a threat to vehicles as well as people and property. Please stay away from rapidly rising creeks and streams and don’t drive through roads covered in water. You can’t tell how deep the water may be, so remember to turn around, don’t drown.

Weather information is online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/weather-forecast.htm.

Tips provided by AAA Mid-Atlantic

 

7 Things to Know About the Snow

Posted 8:08 a.m.

If you’re a snow lover, then the luck of the Irish is with you today! As you begin your day, here are a few things to know:

1.) Please stay off the roads. We need the roads clear for public safety response and Virginia Department of Transportation snow removal crews. Plows will be out in full force this morning, so never crowd a plow!

2.) If you must drive, practice common sense and drive slowly, especially on secondary roads. Remember that your car cannot start, stop or turn as quickly on snow or ice. Find road conditions on one of our maps.

3.) The Police Department’s accident policy is in effect, meaning officers will respond to personal injury crashes, hit and run crashes involving injury and to fatal crashes only.

4.) County government offices, courts and schools are closed today. Your trash/recycling collection has likely been affected.

5.) When shoveling snow, help clear sidewalks, especially near school bus stops; clear fire hydrants; and be careful if you have heart conditions.Snow shovel safety tips

6.) To see the status of VDOT plowing in your neighborhood, enter your address at www.vdotplows.org.

7.) Check in on elderly neighbors and other housebound individuals to see if they need any help.

Visit our winter weather page for more tips and resources. Stay safe!

Changes to County Trash and Recycling Collection Schedule; Private Trash Collection Services Likely Affected

Posted 6:50 a.m.

Due to the winter weather and existing road conditions, Fairfax County trash and recycling collection in sanitary districts (15 percent of county households) has been cancelled for Monday, March 17. Collections are planned to resume in sanitary districts on Tuesday (weather and road conditions permitting) on the following schedule:

  • Monday routes will be collected on Tuesday, March 18
  • Tuesday and Wednesday routes will be collected on Wednesday, March 19
  • No changes are planned for Thursday and Friday customers

Please check the trash/recycling county customer website for updated service information. Service-related questions can also be directed to the trash/recycling customer service center at 703-802-3322, TTY 711.

Private Trash/Recycling

The impact of the winter weather may also be affecting the operations of private trash and recycling collectors. Customers of private service providers (more than 85 percent of county households) should contact their trash and recycling collector directly for any changes in service. Contact information for private trash and recycling collectors operating in Fairfax County is available online.

If your trash collection service has been postponed until another day please remove your trash containers from the curb in order to enhance the effectiveness of snow clearing operations and to avoid having your containers damaged or buried in snowbanks.

Fairfax County Government Offices and Courts Closed Monday, March 17

Posted 5:40 a.m. // Updated 6:50 a.m.

  • Fairfax County Government offices are closed Monday, March 17, and employees are granted emergency administrative leave. Emergency service personnel should report as scheduled. (*An earlier decision to open offices at noon has been changed.)
  • The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court are closed on Monday.
  • Fairfax County Public Schools are closed on Monday. School Age Child Care (SACC) centers are closed.

Trash and Recycling

Parks, Community and Recreation and Community Centers

  • If you have questions about Park Authority facilities, contact the site directly, call the Parks inclement weather line at 703-324-8661, TTY 711, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks.
  • For Department of Neighborhood and Community Services programs and events visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs or call 703-324-4600, TTY 711.
  • The Reston Community Center and the McLean Community Center may be affected by the inclement weather. Call RCC at 703-476-4500, TTY 711, www.restoncommunitycenter.com or MCC at 703-790-0123, TTY 711, www.mcleancenter.org for their current operating status.

Transportation: Connector, Fastran

View the public meetings calendar at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/calendar/ShowCalendar.aspx for any potential cancellations of public meetings of Fairfax County Government Boards, Authorities or Commissions.

Winter weather preparedness information can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/prepare/winter.

UPDATE: County Government and Courts Closed on Monday

UPDATED 5:30 a.m. // Posted at 4:15 a.m.

County and School Status

  • Fairfax County Government offices will be CLOSED on Monday, March 17. Emergency service personnel should report as scheduled.
  • Fairfax County Public Schools are closed on Monday, March 17. School Age Child Care (SACC) centers are closed.
  • The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court are closed.

Parks, Community and Recreation and Community Centers

  • If you have questions about Park Authority facilities, contact the site directly, call the Parks inclement weather line at 703-324-8661, TTY 711, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks.
  • For Department of Neighborhood and Community Services programs and events visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs or call 703-324-4600, TTY 711.
  • The Reston Community Center and the McLean Community Center may be affected by the inclement weather. Call RCC at 703-476-4500, TTY 711, www.restoncommunitycenter.com or MCC at 703-790-0123, TTY 711, www.mcleancenter.org for their current operating status.

Transportation: Connector, Fastran

Libraries

  • Library hours may be affected; call your local branch before visiting. For branch phone numbers, call 703-324-3100 or go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library.

View the public meetings calendar at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/calendar/ShowCalendar.aspx for any potential cancellations of public meetings of Fairfax County government Boards, Authorities or Commissions.

Winter weather preparedness information can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/prepare/winter.

For Tuesday, March 4: County Government Open with Unscheduled Leave

Posted at 10:23 p.m.

Fairfax County Government offices will open on time on Tuesday, March 4, however employees have been granted unscheduled leave. Emergency service personnel should report as scheduled. Read more about how/why snow decisions are made.

Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 4; School Age Child Care (SACC) centers will also be closed.

The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court will open on time.

Parks, Community and Recreation and Community Centers

  • If you have questions about Park Authority facilities, contact the site directly, call the Parks inclement weather line at 703-324-8661, TTY 711, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks.
  • For Department of Neighborhood and Community Services programs and events visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs or call 703-324-4600, TTY 711.
  • The Reston Community Center and the McLean Community Center may be affected by the inclement weather. Call RCC at 703-476-4500, TTY 711, www.restoncommunitycenter.com or MCC at 703-790-0123, TTY 711, www.mcleancenter.org for their current operating status.

Transportation: Connector, Fastran

Libraries

  • Library hours may be affected; call your local branch before visiting. For branch phone numbers, call 703-324-3100 or go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library.

View the public meetings calendar at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/calendar/ShowCalendar.aspx for any potential cancellations of public meetings of Fairfax County government Boards, Authorities or Commissions.

Winter weather preparedness information can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/prepare/winter.

3 Key Snow Shovel Tips for Today

Posted 11:45 a.m.

As the snow falls across the region today, snow removal will be top of mind. Here are three key tips to keep in mind when shoveling:

Snow shovel safety tips

1.) Help clear sidewalks in your neighborhood, especially near school bus stops for when school re-opens. The county and state do not remove snow from public sidewalks.

2.) Seconds count if a fire breaks out, so clear a 3-foot radius around hydrants in your neighborhood.

3.) If you have a history of heart disease, do not shovel without your doctor’s OK. Call 9-1-1 if there’s chest discomfort.

We have more snow removal tips, including storm drains, accessible parking spaces and more.

Snow Is Here! 7 Things to Know This Morning

Posted 6:02 a.m.

Good morning! While most of you have been sleeping, the snow roared into the region. As you begin your day, here are a few things to know:

1.) Please stay off the roads. The heaviest snow is yet to come so our roads will deteriorate. We need the roads clear for public safety response and so Virginia Department of Transportation crews can clear roads.

2.) If you must drive, practice common sense. Remember that your car cannot start, stop or turn as quickly and surely on snow or ice as it does on dry pavement, so think and drive accordingly. Find road conditions on one of our maps. Plows will be out in full force this morning, so please, never crowd a plow!

3.) County government offices, courts and schools are closed today.

4.) Fairfax Connector, Metrobus and VRE have all suspended service today. Metrorail is operating a normal schedule. Our Fastran service will only provide critical medical care transports.

5.) To see the status of VDOT plowing in your neighborhood, enter your address at www.vdotplows.org.

6.) Check in on elderly neighbors and other housebound individuals to see if they need any help.

7.) Avoid slips, trips and falls if you go outside today. Listen to this short audio clip:

Visit our winter weather page for more tips and resources. Stay safe!

VDOT: Stay Off the Roads on Monday

Posted 9:10 p.m.

From our friends at the Virginia Department of Transportation:

VDOT snow plowDrivers should stay off the roads tomorrow, Monday, March 3, during a storm expected to bring significant sleet, snow and frigid temperatures to Northern Virginia. By midnight tonight, 4,000 trucks will be staged along interstates, major roads and neighborhood streets in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties.

Info for Northern Virginia drivers and residents:

  • Drivers are strongly advised to stay home during the storm.
  • Crews will plow and treat interstates, major roads and neighborhoods concurrently.
  • Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William residents can enter their address at www.vdotplows.org to see the status of plowing in their neighborhood.
  • Park in your driveway or on the odd-numbered side of the street to allow plows room to pass.
  • When shoveling, leave the last few feet at the curb until the street is plowed, as the truck will push some snow back. Shovel to the right facing the road.
  • Chemicals are not used in subdivisions, but crews sand hills, curves and intersections to provide traction. For most storms, one snowplow pass, about eight to ten feet wide, is made.

Get more information:

Fairfax County Government Offices and Courts Closed Monday, March 3

Posted 8:24 p.m.

  • Fairfax County Government offices are closed Monday, March 3, and employees are granted emergency administrative leave. Emergency service personnel should report as scheduled.
  • The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court are closed on Monday.
  • Fairfax County Public Schools are closed on Monday. School Age Child Care (SACC) centers are closed.

Parks, Community and Recreation and Community Centers

  • If you have questions about Park Authority facilities, contact the site directly, call the Parks inclement weather line at 703-324-8661, TTY 711, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks.
  • For Department of Neighborhood and Community Services programs and events visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs or call 703-324-4600, TTY 711.
  • The Reston Community Center and the McLean Community Center may be affected by the inclement weather. Call RCC at 703-476-4500, TTY 711, www.restoncommunitycenter.com or MCC at 703-790-0123, TTY 711, www.mcleancenter.org for their current operating status.

Transportation: Connector, Fastran

View the public meetings calendar at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/calendar/ShowCalendar.aspx for any potential cancellations of public meetings of Fairfax County Government Boards, Authorities or Commissions.

Winter weather preparedness information can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/prepare/winter.

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