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Observe Moment of Silence at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11

Posted at 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 11, marks the 12th anniversary of the terrorists attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 men, women and children.

By presidential proclamation, Americans are called on to participate in a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to honor the victims who died as a result of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Flags should also be displayed at half-staff in honor of the individuals who lost their lives.

You may also wish to observe the day with ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services. Visit USA.gov’s 9/11 Commemorations and Memorials to learn about:

  • Memorials in New York, NY; Washington, D.C.; and near Shanksville, PA.
  • Sept. 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
  • Photos, recovered objects and eyewitness accounts from 9/11.
  • Emergency preparedness efforts.

The county’s Memorial Grove, located on the Government Center grounds, is also a space where you may want to take a moment and reflect.

Remember to observe a moment of silence Wednesday, Sept. 11, starting at 8:46 a.m. and take steps during National Preparedness Month to build — or re-supply — your emergency supply kit, make a plan for your family and business, and commit to stay informed.

30 Ways to Prepare

Join Our Social Media Emergency Preparedness Campaign

30 Ways in 30 Days to PreparePosted at 12:05 p.m.

National Preparedness Month is underway and we need your help.

This month we invite you to take a look at list of 30 easy, practical ways you and your family, business or faith community can become better prepared.

How can you help spread the word? That’s easy.

  1. Join our social media campaign through your Twitter or Facebook accounts. Visit this page: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/3686-30-easy-emergency-prep-ideas
  2. Click the orange buttons to show your support through Twitter or Facebook.
  3. If we reach our goal of 100 supporters, then on Monday, Sept. 9, at 11:30 a.m., a tweet or Facebook update will be posted automatically to your friends and followers telling them about your commitment to emergency preparedness. Right now, our message would reach nearly 85,000 people at the same time.

We’re about 75 percent of the way to our goal. Can you help your community by serving as an information ambassador — and spare a tweet or Facebook post?

Pass It On! Fairfax Prepares Day 30

Posted 3:15 p.m.

day 30 iconWe’ve reached Day 30.

First, thank you to everyone who has tweeted, emailed, left comments on our Facebook page, and shared these 30 ideas and asks for the last month. Your dedication to preparing your home and family helps build a stronger, more resilient community. We hope you have found this series useful. Let us know what you thought of the information in the comments section below.

We have one final ask.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: Share all 30 asks with at least one person (but we recommend many more!). Keep this cycle of information moving throughout our whole community so we take small, easy steps toward more personal preparedness.

The 30 asks (click each link for more details):

  1. Pets: Buy an extra bag (or cans) of food for your pet the next time you go to the store.
  2. Cash: Withdraw some extra cash from your bank or ask for cash back at a grocery store.
  3. Infant/Young Children: Review your infant and young children supplies that are essential to you as a parent or someone who may be taking care of a young child.
  4. Schools: Review the school preparedness resources so you’re familiar with emergency response plans.
  5. Emergency Survey: Though now completed, please sign up for at least one of our emergency information tools.
  6. Weather Radios: Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio.
  7. Power Outages: Save your power company’s phone number to report outages on paper, phone or other device so you can access it safely.
  8. Batteries: Pickup an extra package or two of the most commonly used batteries in your home.
  9. Tornado Exercise Review: Review our series of blog posts from the tornado exercise and ask yourselves the various questions we posed.
  10. See Something, Say Something: Write down or save to your phone Virginia’s terrorism hotline phone number to report suspicious activities.
  11. Remember: Take a moment of silence today, in whatever way you choose, to remember Sept. 11, 2001, or victims of other disasters and incidents.
  12. Stay Informed: Ask a friend to sign up for at least one of our emergency information tools.
  13. Water, Water, Water: Calculate how much water you need for your household and purchase the appropriate number of gallons.
  14. Multiple Languages: Share emergency preparedness info in multiple languages.
  15. Get Involved: Review what the Citizen Corps or other emergency volunteer organizations do so you’re aware of them in case you decide later (or after an incident) that you want to join.
  16. Floods: Review list of roads that historically flood in Fairfax County and note which ones are near your home or part of your commute.
  17. Special Needs Registry: If you know someone with special medical needs or of an organization that helps people with social needs, please notify them of our Special Needs Registry.
  18. Make a Plan: Complete a family and/or business preparedness plan.
  19. Turning Off Utilities: Familiarize yourself with what utilities you have in your home and learn how to turn them off.
  20. Speakers Bureau: Recommend our Office of Emergency Management to speak with your group.
  21. Calling 9-1-1: Add a new contact to your phones for the public safety non-emergency number at 703-691-2131.
  22. How Ready Are You?: Test your Readiness Quotient.
  23. Two Ways Out: Design two ways out of your home/apartment.
  24. Importance of Neighborhoods: Talk about emergency preparedness plans with your neighbors.
  25. Medicines: Purchase extra over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin or children’s medications you frequently use.
  26. Earthquakes: Register for the Great SouthEast ShakeOut or review earthquake preparedness tips.
  27. Take Pictures: Take pictures of all the rooms in your home so you have documentation of what you own.
  28. Car Preparedness: Find a small bag and place in your car with as many items listed above as possible.
  29. Get Where You Need to Be: Think about, explore and plan for alternate routes in advance of winter.
  30. Pass It On!: Keep this list moving through our community. Share these asks and tips with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and members of your house of worship.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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Get Where You Need to Be: Fairfax Prepares Day 29

Posted 8:05 p.m.

day 29 iconWe’ve waited 29 days to talk about — snow. Yes, the white stuff and its associated frozen version are likely around the corner. As we know from experience, our transportation patterns may need to change in response to snowstorms.

By staying off the roads during the worst of the winter weather, departments of transportation are more easily able to access roads that need treatment, snow plows can more freely clear roads and get to areas needing plowing and public safety officials can respond more quickly to residents in need of emergency services.

It may require you to take a couple of hours of personal leave during the winter, but leaving early enough to avoid bad weather and traffic gridlock caused by slippery road conditions is worth the investment. Thinking strategically about your travel and where you really need to be will require some planning and thought.

The phrase to keep in mind: Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: With winter on the horizon, think about your commute. Do you have alternate routes home in case there’s a need to modify your path? Think about, explore and plan for alternate routes now as we enjoy fall weather.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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Car Preparedness: Fairfax Prepares Day 28

Posted 2:40 p.m.

day 28 iconIn our recent emergency information survey, we asked about steps you have taken to be prepared. Two-thirds of respondents indicated that home preparedness kits have been created, far exceeding typical preparedness numbers nationwide. Many of our tips in this series address items you should include in your kits.

But what about your car?

Many of us drive in our community, be it across the county, into D.C. or other neighboring jurisdictions. It’s no secret many of us commute, often for long periods of time.

If you drive, then please consider a small stash of supplies for your vehicle. Only about 33 percent of survey respondents indicated they have supplies in their cars.

What should be in a car preparedness kit? Here’s a sampling of ideas across all seasons:

  • Blanket
  • Clothes with warm, comfortable footwear
  • Diapers if you have children
  • First-aid kit 
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Food, such as snack bars
  • Ice scraper/brush and snow shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Knife
  • Maps
  • Paper towels
  • Phone charger
  • Plastic bag with seal for waste
  • Sand, salt or kitty litter
  • Sign to request help
  • Soap
  • Towels
  • Water

Also, it’s critical to ensure you have at least a quarter tank of gas in case there are massive traffic delays. You may recall the January 2011 snowstorm that caused many people to be on the roads for 10+ hours. Try to always be prepared with gas and many of the supplies listed above.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: Find a small bag and place in your car with as many items listed above as possible.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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Take Pictures: Fairfax Prepares Day 27

Posted 4:37 p.m.

day 27 iconDo you have updated pictures of the interior of your home and certain valuables? What about pictures or scans of important documents such as birth certificates or Social Security cards? Do you have any pictures of your pets?

There are many good reasons to take pictures today in case something happens and you need them tomorrow. If you can store them digitally on your phone or in a Cloud storage service, then you may have easy access right away if you need the information.

Consider using a camera (especially a smartphone camera) for these purposes:

  • For insurance, it’s best to take pictures of your property before an incident to help validate your claim. Take photos of all the rooms in your house/apartment as well as any specific valuables you feel should be documented.
  • For documentation, you should take photos of any damage your property experiences.
  • For reference, it’s a good idea to have photos of key documents saved someplace safe.
  • For locating, have pictures of your pets in case they escape or get lost in the aftermath of an incident.
  • For gathering, take a picture of a landmark you and your family will reunite at in case you are initially separated, then send it by text, email or social media site.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: This weekend, take pictures of all the rooms in your home so you have documentation of what you own.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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Earthquakes: Fairfax Prepares Day 26

Posted 12:06 p.m.

day 26 iconWhere were you when you experienced the Virginia earthquake?

Last August, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Mineral, Va., and our county felt it along with a good portion of the Northeast.

Earthquake preparedness may not have been on top of your mind given the rarity of the earth moving here. One year later, though, take a quick look at some earthquake preparedness tips.

Two of the most important tips:

  • The best protection is to get under heavy furniture, such as a desk, table or bench, staying away from large windows, mirrors or other glass.
  • The greatest danger is directly outside buildings, at exits and along exterior walls, due to falling debris.

For the first time, Virginia will participate in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut, an earthquake drill set for Oct. 18, at 10:18 a.m.

There are many ways for individuals, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, community groups and others to participate in the SouthEast ShakeOut, including the day of the drill.   

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: Register for the Great SouthEast ShakeOut drill and join the nearly 500,000 Virginians registered so far. If you can’t participate that day, then please review the earthquake preparedness tips above in case the earth shakes again.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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Medicines: Fairfax Prepares Day 25

Posted 4:19 p.m.

This week is Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout when you can safely dispose of your unused medicines. This week is also a good reminder to have extra medicine on hand, if possible, in case you can’t access a pharmacy for a few days.

It’s recommended that you have one week’s supply of essential prescription medicines (be sure to check the expiration dates). You should also stock up on over-the-counter medicines you may need.

If you take daily prescription medicine at night, for example, consider bringing an extra dose or two to your place of work in case you can’t get home.

If you or someone in your family needs electricity to take medicine (for example, by using a nebulizer or other device), be sure you’ve thought about how you can continue taking that medicine if there’s a power outage.

For further advice, talk with your medical provider about emergency preparedness and prescription medicines.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: Next time you’re shopping, purchase extra over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin or children’s medications you frequently use so you have an extra supply.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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The Importance of Neighborhoods: Fairfax Prepares Day 24

Posted 4:30 p.m.

day 24 iconA community working together during an emergency makes sense.

Whether it’s in response to a derecho storm, snowstorm, terrorist incident or another type of issue, it’s a good idea to try and come together. We recognize that we live in all sizes and shapes of communities – some with defined homeowners associations, some with more active apartment living scenes and some in a single house away from main roads. Whatever your housing choice, try and connect with neighbors so you can seek or give support when it may be needed.

A few ideas:

  • Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together during an emergency.
  • Find out if anyone has specialized equipment like a power generator, or expertise such as medical knowledge, that might help in a crisis.
  • Decide who will check on elderly or disabled neighbors.
  • Make back-up plans for children in case you can’t get home in an emergency.
  • Share plans and communicate in advance.

Emergency response is one of the most important responsibilities of local government, but government alone can’t respond. Families, neighborhoods, businesses, houses of worship and many others in our large, diverse community must be prepared, at a minimum, to be self-sufficient for three days.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: Within the next two months, talk about emergency preparedness plans with your neighbors – either through a formal HOA meeting, apartment community meeting or simply one-on-one with the people you know best on your street or in your building. If you need someone from our Office of Emergency Management to speak, let us know.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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Two Ways Out: Fairfax Prepares Day 23

Posted 9:02 p.m.

day 23 iconAs another weekend comes to a close, perhaps family or friends visited your home, you visited them, or you attended a sporting event or the latest movie opening.

In any of these examples or for other places you may have visited, did you know two ways out of the building/home? If there’s a fire or other unexpected need to evacuate, are you prepared?

When developing your family escape plan, our fire and rescue department recommends that your plan includes two exits from each room, an outside meeting place and alternatives for any family members needing extra assistance.

Additionally, practice your plan with all members of the household regularly.

Practice this at home, but also always keep in mind two ways to exit whatever building you may be in at the time of an incident if you must leave.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: At a minimum this week, design two ways out of your home/apartment.

Exclamation point icon BONUS ASK: Mark your calendars to attend! On Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., all 37 fire and rescue stations will be host community open houses, spotlighting fire prevention. The theme for 2012 is “Have Two Ways Out!” It serves to remind us all of the simple actions we can take to stay safe from fire year round. Every firehouse will host activities, provide tours and have available fire prevention educational materials.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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How Ready Are You? Fairfax Prepares Day 22

Posted 10:12 a.m.

day 22 iconFor 21 days, you’ve been reading tips and completing our asks to become better prepared.

There’s another way to gauge your readiness – through an educational tool by The Council for Excellence in Government that tests your “readiness quotient.”

The Readiness Quotient – or RQ – is a first of its kind tool for individuals, families and communities to determine and evaluate their readiness. 

See how you stack up against the national average and learn specific steps you can take to better prepare yourself and your family, as well as things you can do to encourage your community, schools and workplace to be better prepared.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: Test your Readiness Quotient by the end of September (National Preparedness Month).

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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Calling 9-1-1: Fairfax Prepares Day 21

Posted 3:42 p.m.

day 21 iconIt may seem obvious – call 9-1-1 for an emergency.

But in a high-stress situation, do you know what information is needed? Is your home clearly marked. Do you know the public safety non-emergency phone number?

Here are a few tips to consider when calling 9-1-1:

  1. Use 9-1-1 for emergencies only.
  2. Stay calm and help the call taker help you.
  3. Determine the location of the emergency, if possible, before you call.
  4. Texting 9-1-1 is NOT an option; you must dial 9-1-1 and speak with a call taker.
  5. Teach your children how to call 9-1-1.
  6. Do not give old phones to children as toys. A wireless phone with no active service can still dial 9-1-1.
  7. If you accidentally call 9-1-1, stay on the line and tell the call taker that you do not have an emergency.
  8. Post your home address clearly and prominently so first responders can find you.
  9. Pull over when driving, if possible. This reduces the chance of a dropped call.
  10. Tips for non-English callers and hearing or speech-impaired callers.

9-1-1 dispatchersWe receive more than 1 million 9-1-1 calls a year. Hopefully you don’t have to call, but if you do, make sure it’s an emergency. If you’re not sure, call 9-1-1, but if it’s clearly a non-emergency, then call the non-emergency number.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: 9-1-1 is an easy to remember phone number, but you can help reduce unnecessary calls if your situation is not an emergency. This weekend, add a new contact to your phones for the public safety non-emergency number at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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Emergency Speakers Bureau: Fairfax Prepares Day 20

Posted 5:29 p.m.

day 20 iconNeed an expert to talk about emergency preparedness or county response plans? The Office of Emergency Management offers a speaker’s bureau that can talk to groups about:

  • Emergency Management and Community Preparedness
  • Personal and Family Preparedness
  • Severe Weather Awareness
  • Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP)
  • Business Continuity Planning for Small Businesses
  • Special Needs Planning and the Special Needs Registry
  • Terrorism and Natural Disasters
  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • Emergency Preparedness for Faith-Based Organizations
  • Emergency Preparedness for Special Needs Organizations

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: If you belong to an organization such as a homeowners association, faith community, business or other group in our community, recommend our Office of Emergency Management to speak with your group. If you are interested contact Marcelo Ferreira at 571-350-1000, TTY 711.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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Turning Off Utilities: Fairfax Prepares Day 19

Posted 4:32 p.m.

day 19 iconIn the aftermath of an incident, you may be required to turn off certain utilities in your home such as gas, water and electricity to control additional damage from a disaster.

It’s important to be prepared to do this.

  • Locate the electric, gas and water shut-off valves.
  • Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves.
  • Teach family members how to turn off utilities.
  • If you turn the gas off, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to do this yourself.

If you rent an apartment, you may not have access to all of these utilities as some are common to a whole building, so be aware of what you are responsible for. If you have elderly neighbors who need assistance turning off utilities, please consider lending a hand.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: This weekend, familiarize yourself with what utilities you have in your home and learn how to turn them off, keep the needed tools nearby and teach others who live with you to know how, too. View this excellent resource from a fellow emergency management office that describes some of the basics.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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Make a Plan: Fairfax Prepares Day 18

Posted 5:02 p.m.

day 18 iconToday we experienced another very strong line of thunderstorms with winds and heavy rains, along with a tornado watch. If this storm had been even stronger, the impact on our community and in your neighborhood could have been greater.

We’re always at risk for weather threats and also for potential terrorist attacks.

So it’s important for each household to develop a plan.

Why?

If your family is in different locations when a disaster strikes, do you have a plan that shows how you will contact each other and how you can reunite at a safe location? If your business is directly impacted by a disaster, do you have a plan to re-establish business operations at another location? How will you inform your employees of the new operations, procedures and processes?

If you haven’t thought about the answers to these questions, take action now by making an emergency plan. Not only will your emergency plan answer these questions, but it will be a critical tool that empowers and guides you, your family, and/or your business in a crisis.

Luckily, we have a regional online resource here in Northern Virginia to develop plans at ReadyNOVA.com.

Exclamation point iconTHE ASK: Complete a family and/or business preparedness plan by the end of September at www.ReadyNOVA.com. Once you complete the plan on a desktop computer, you can then also access it on the ReadyNOVA iPhone or Android apps (see bottom of the webpage for details) so everyone in your family has access to the same plan.

TELL US you’ve done this:

  • Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
  • Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
  • Email us at publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov that you accomplished an ask.

SHARE THIS TIP:

  • Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!

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