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Video: Hurricane Preparedness

Posted at 4:15 p.m.

Hurricane season began on Saturday, June 1, and according to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, this is expected to be an active Atlantic Hurricane season. We were affected by Hurricane Sandy last year and a slight turn westward would have impacted us more. We all need to be ready.

Our Office of Emergency Management encourages residents to take some simple steps now to ensure that you and your family are prepared in case of hurricanes or other severe weather.

 

Hurricane Preparedness Tips

Hurricane Sandy as seen from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite on October 28, 2012. Photo Credit: NOAA/NASA

Hurricane Sandy as seen from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite on October 28, 2012. Photo Credit: NOAA/NASA

Among the steps you should take now:

  • Assemble an emergency supply kit. If you already have one, check it to make sure all supplies are accounted for and re-stock items as necessary.
  • Cut dead trees and limbs that could fall on your home.
  • Learn the difference between a watch and a warning. 
    • A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
    • A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
  • If your home or business is in a flood-prone area, make sure you have a current flood insurance policy (not typically part of a standard insurance policy). A 30-day waiting period is generally required to purchase flood insurance, so take time now to visit your insurance agent to learn more.
  • Take pictures of your property before the storm to help validate your claim and remember to take your policies with you if you need to evacuate.

Learn more from our preparedness Web page as well as Ready.gov. For easy access to hurricane information on your phone, download the free Hurricane App from the American Red Cross (iPhone and Android). It will help you track storms, prepare your family and home, get help, and more.

What Can You Buy During the Hurricane Sales Tax Holiday?

Posted at 1:50 p.m.

To encourage preparation for hurricane/flooding season, which begins June 1, Virginia has a sales tax holiday for purchasing hurricane/emergency supplies. Many useful and everyday items are on this list. 

The statewide Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is underway, through May 31. During this time you can save money on sales tax for a wide variety of items to help you, your family and your business prepare for hurricanes.

So what type of items are tax-exempt? Check out the Infographic below for details.

Hurricane Sales Tax Holiday Flyer

Click the graphic above for a larger version or to print a copy.

For more on the sales tax holiday, visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov.

Video: Hurricane Sales Tax Holiday, May 25-31

Posted: 10 a.m.

The Atlantic Hurricane season starts June 1. To get prepared, and to save money, our emergency management officials encourage you to take advantage of the statewide hurricane sales tax holiday.

Shop May 25-31, during the sales tax holiday, and you won’t pay sales tax on supplies for protecting your home and business.

Check out the video below for details on what you should put in your emergency kit – and what’s eligible for tax savings.

For more, visit the Virginia Department of Emergency Management or the hurricane sales tax holiday page from the Virginia Department of Taxation.

Document Damage from Hurricane Sandy for Potential Disaster Assistance

Posted 2:10 p.m.

damage-databaseDid your property suffer damage from Hurricane Sandy?

Then please visit our Disaster Damage Database and complete the form to officially document damage. We may share the disaster damage reports with the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and/or the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to evaluate what kind of federal disaster assistance could be made available to county residents who have suffered losses.

NOTE: Submission of disaster damages is not a requirement to apply for federal disaster assistance nor is it a promise that federal disaster assistance will be provided to cover damages from the hurricane, or any other disaster event when the online tool is used.

For more information about the Disaster Damage Database, emergency management or how you and your family can better prepare for emergencies, email the Office of Emergency Management or call 571-350-1000, TTY 711.

Virginia Task Force 1 in New Jersey

Posted 12:58 p.m.

As New Jersey and other states north of us recover from a more devastating blow from Hurricane Sandy than we received, our own first responders are there helping.

Virginia Task Force 1 — Fairfax County’s Urban Search and Rescue Team — was deployed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Little Ferry, N.J., and participated in water rescues and evacuations Tuesday in an area where a levee broke. VATF-1 worked through the night with one team as well as the military.

This morning, the team was briefed by FEMA and they are in the planning stages for the next 24 hours.  The water has receded in the Little Ferry area and the team is now able to drive through the entire neighborhood with little difficulty. It was anticipated the team would finish with the neighborhood around noon today 

The 80-member team and four canines are doing well and members have been able to get some rest.

The team consists of firefighters, paramedics, search and rescue specialists, structural engineers, physicians, hazardous materials specialists, planning and logistical staff, and canines and handlers. In addition to its regular complement of equipment, the team will also deploy with two inflatable boats, and water rescue specialists.

As the federal sponsoring agency, FEMA pays for all costs and expenses incurred by VATF-1 when members are activated or undergo training. All training, equipment, and personnel costs of VATF-1 are paid for by the federal government on a regular basis, including its new training facility in Lorton. Additionally, when firefighters and members are deployed, there is no loss in emergency response or service to Fairfax County residents, as minimum staffing for all apparatus is continuous for all fire and rescue stations. The training and expertise gained by working with our federal partners in times of local, regional, national and international disasters and emergencies enhances and improves the skill sets of firefighters and paramedics. The skills gained from this partnership provides a direct benefit to county residents by using these skills in making Fairfax County a safer and better place to live and work.

Shelter and Emergency Operations Center Now Closed

Posted 11:11 a.m.

Fairfax County deactivated its Emergency Operations Center at 10 a.m. today.

The shelter at Lee District RECenter closed at 10 a.m.

If you have questions about the storm or cleanup, please call or email 703-FAIRFAX between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.:

Sandy By The Numbers (10 a.m.):

  • 6,083 Dominion households and 286 NOVEC customers without power (2 percent of county)
  • 52 roads closed – view list and map
  • 13 traffic signals out
  • 60 trees into homes

Storm By The Numbers

Posted 12:20 a.m.

Here are the latest numbers from Hurricane Sandy:

  • 15,563 Dominion households and 342 NOVEC customers without power
  • 76 roads closed – view list and map
  • 16 traffic signals out
  • 58 trees into homes
  • 31  county facilities without power, including:
    • James Lee Community Center
    • Spring Hill Recreation Center
    • Colvin Run Mill Park
    • Patrick Henry Library
    • Great Falls Library
    • Kingstowne Library

Emergency Hotline Closing at 6 p.m.

Posted 5:33 p.m.

The Fairfax County Emergency Information Hotline will be deactivated at 6 p.m. today, Tuesday, Oct. 30. We thank you for your questions and hope this was a helpful resource for those who called.

If you have questions about the storm and recovery tomorrow or beyond, please call 703-FAIRFAX (703-324-7329, TTY 711) or email 703fairfax@fairfaxcounty.gov. County government will be open regular hours tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m

Fairfax County Government Operating Status for Oct. 31

Posted 5:14 p.m.

  • Fairfax County Government will be open Wednesday.
  • Fairfax County Public Schools and offices will open on time. Individual schools that may have power outages will be reassessed in the morning. Parents are being asked to be patient as buses may need to work around road closures in some parts of the county and bus routes may be delayed. 
  • Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court will be open.
  • Absentee Voting — Seven satellite locations with extended hours noon to 8 p.m. and at the Government Center with regular hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Suite 323.
  • Trash Pickup Regular schedule, including Tuesday customers. More information, including debris pick up.
  • Halloween Halloween is a community celebration, not something that Fairfax County Government plans or controls like some other jurisdictions around the country. Trick or treating generally occurs in our community Oct. 31. If trick or treating happens in your neighborhood, please be safe around any downed trees or other debris.

Storm By The Numbers

Posted 2:16 p.m. // Updated 2:57 p.m.

Here are the latest numbers from Hurricane Sandy:

  • 42,893 Dominion households and approximately 1,000 NOVEC customers without power (11 percent of the county)
  • 83 roads closed – view list
  • 75 traffic signals out
  • 58 trees into homes
  • 31 public schools without power (updated 2:57 p.m.)
  • 25 people in county shelter last night

County Trash Collection Update

Posted 1:54 p.m.

trash collectionResidents in sanitary districts receiving trash and recycling collection service on Tuesdays from Fairfax County will be served on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Residents on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday routes will receive trash and recycling collection service as normally scheduled. Please have trash and recycling containers to the curb by 6 a.m. on your collection day to ensure collection.

We anticipate there may be some delays in yard waste collection due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. We will have crews working through the week and into the weekend (if necessary) to ensure that the material is collected. These delays will not affect the collection of trash and recycling.

Questions related to the county’s trash and recycling collection service within established sanitary districts may be directed to the Solid Waste Management Program at 703-802-3322, TTY 711. Residents receiving trash and recycling collection service from private service providers should contact them directly for information related to any collection schedule changes.

Debris Removal and Cleanup Options for Hurricane Sandy

Posted 12:02 p.m.

Cleanup from Hurricane Sandy is underway in our neighborhoods and communities. There are several options available for managing debris generated from this storm:

  1. All refuse collection companies operating in Fairfax County must collect brush placed at their customers’ curbsides as long as the brush is in bundles ofless than 4 feet in length, weighing less than 50 pounds and no piece is larger than 6 inches in diameter.
  2. For larger amounts of brush or bulk debris, you should contact your trash collection service provider for information about special collections and set-out instructions.
  3. You may also self-haul large amounts of brush or bulk debris to the county’s recycling and disposal centers at the I-66 Transfer Station or the I-95 Landfill Complex where it can be disposed of for a fee. The fee structure for brush and tree debris from Hurricane Sandy is as follows:
    • Pick-up trucks (residents only): $5
    • Single axle stake body and dump trucks (residents only): $15
    • Pick-up trucks, single axle stake body and dump trucks (permitted haulers): $15
    • Tandem axle trucks including crane/knuckle boom trucks: $32 per ton (to be weighed at scale)

These fees will remain in place until Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Complete details on tree and debris removal are available online. Additional questions may be referred to the Solid Waste Management Program at 703-324-5230, TTY 711.

Who to Call About Downed Trees

Posted 11:53 a.m.

downed treeHurricane Sandy has left debris in many of our yards. In all cases, stay away from downed wires near downed trees. Electricity can travel through tree limbs. Never remove tree limbs or other items that are touching or near a downed wire.

Here’s who to call about downed trees:

Adjacent to Public Roads

  • Contact Virginia Department of Transportation at 1-800-FOR-ROAD, TTY 711.

On County Parkland

  • Contact Fairfax County Park Authority at 703-324-8594, TTY 703-324-3988. More information about tree removal on Park Authority land can be found here.

Posing Hazard to Public Areas

  • Contact Fairfax County Urban Forestry at 703-324-1770, TTY 703-324-1877.

Private Property

  • Removal is the property owner’s responsibility. Be aware of the risk of chain saw injury during tree removal. Use a chain saw safely

No Flooding Imminent or Expected in Huntington, Belle View or New Alexandria

Posted 10:17 a.m.

Huntington: Residents may return to their homes as the flooding threat from this storm has passed.

Belle View/New Alexandria: Based on current National Weather Service models and forecasts, we do not anticipate flooding.

For residents of both areas, please stay informed and alert for the next 48 hours in case conditions change. We will be monitoring river flows for the next few days and alert residents as needed.

Food Safety After a Power Outage

Food SafetyAn electrical power outage will affect the safe storage of refrigerated and frozen foods. Perishable foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk and eggs that are not properly refrigerated or stored, and frozen food that thaws, may cause illness if consumed.  In order to protect these perishable foods from spoilage, follow the guidelines listed below.  When the power goes out:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.  The refrigerator will keep foods cold for 2-4 hours if it is unopened.  Full freezers will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (1/2 full 12 hours) if the door remains closed.  These times may vary depending on age of the unit, condition of the seals, temperature setting and amount of food.
  • Digital, dial, or instant-read food thermometer and appliance thermometers will help you know if the food is at a safe temperature.
  • Before eating perishable refrigerated foods (milk, cheeses, eggs, meats, fish, or poultry) be sure to check their temperature.  Foods that are 41º F or below can be eaten and are considered safe.  Foods that are above 41ºF for more than 2 hours must be discarded.  Do Not Eat.  Don’t trust your sense of smell.  Food may be unsafe even if it doesn’t smell bad.
  • Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still 41º F or re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals or is below 41º F. You have to evaluate each food item separately.  Partial thawing and refreezing may reduce the quality of some food, but the food will remain safe to eat.
  • If the power is out for longer than 4 hours, use dry ice.  25 pounds of dry ice will keep a ten cubic foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days.  Handle dry ice with care and wear dry heavy gloves to avoid injury.
  • Follow the golden rule of food safety, “When in Doubt, Throw it Out”, for any foods which you are not sure have stayed at a safe temperature or which do not look or smell as they should.

For more information on food safety after a power outage, visit the health department’s website, http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hd/alert/emerg/emerinfofood02.htm, or call the Fairfax County Health Department at 703-246-2444.

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