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Emergency Management Coordinator Dave McKernan on Being Ready for All Hazards

Posted at 11 a.m.

Our Emergency Management Coordinator Dave McKernan spoke to the Board of Supervisors during their Sept. 9 meeting as part of the Board’s proclamation of September as “Emergency Preparedness Month” in Fairfax County, part of the larger, National Preparedness Month held every September.

McKernan says that Fairfax County has done a lot to be prepared as a government and is ready to respond to emergency situations, but that county residents also need to be ready for any and all hazards.

 

McKernan noted that regional, national and international events continue to highlight the need to be ready for all hazards — as an individual, family, organization or business.

 

And should something occur, McKernan noted that you should “be your own hero” and be ready to provide for the safety of yourself and your family, as well as help friends and neighbors.

 

McKernan adds that every resident in Fairfax County should also be enrolled on Fairfax Alerts, the county’s way to send emergency alerts and notifications — including severe weather and traffic alerts — to both email and smartphones.

Additional information and resources are available online, including tips on making an emergency kit and an emergency plan for your family or your business.

If you need more information on emergency preparedness, you can call our emergency management office at 571-350-1000, TTY 711; or email oem@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Reminder: CEAN Alerts Discontinued Sept. 30

Posted at 11 a.m.

In this video, Paul Lupe from our emergency management office, provides a reminder for existing CEAN users of the need to create a new Fairfax Alerts account before the end of the month (Sept. 30).

Fairfax Alerts Blog Box

The former CEAN platform will no longer be used after Sept. 30, so we want to make sure that if you were receiving alerts that you continue to receive them after the full switch over to Fairfax Alerts.

Learn more and register for Fairfax Alerts at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts. If you have any questions, or need assistance in registering, email OEM-AlertSupport@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Audio: Fairfax Alerts Offers Customizable Emergency Alerts

Posted at 10 a.m.

A couple of months ago, we changed our emergency alerting system from the Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN)* to Fairfax Alerts. Fairfax Alerts

Sulayman Brown with our Office of Emergency Management (OEM) says there are several advantages to the new system, including that you can register multiple devices — up to 10 delivery methods like home phone, cellphone, email, text messaging and more — to receive emergency messages from Fairfax Alerts.

 

Brown adds that one of the major advantages of Fairfax Alerts is the ability to customize your weather alerts, not only for specific work or home locations, but also times during the day or night when you don’t want to receive weather alerts. You get to pick the types of weather alerts you wish to receive, along with traffic and public safety alerts.

 

It’s simple. If we can’t reach you, we can’t alert you. So sign up right now for emergency alerts from Fairfax Alerts at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts.

For more on OEM visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/oem and for emergency preparedness information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency.

* Note: If you were registered in CEAN, that service will end on Oct. 1. To continue receiving alerts for weather, traffic and emergencies, you must register for Fairfax Alerts at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts

Join Today’s Ask Fairfax! Online Chat to Learn More About Emergency Preparedness

Posted at 8 a.m.

Fairfax County has experienced a variety of unexpected emergencies in the past few years – an earthquake, hurricane, tropical storm, tornado and a derecho storm all affected the area.

To help you better prepare for all types of emergencies, Bruce McFarlane and Whitney Kazragis from our Office of Emergency Management will be available to answer questions about recent emergencies and to share best practices for emergency preparedness during an online Ask Fairfax! chat this morning at 11 a.m.

September is National Preparedness month, the perfect time to prepare yourself, your family and your workplace. So submit your questions in advance and plan to join the chat at 11 a.m. to learn how to be ready for any and all hazards.

Video: Pet Preparedness

Posted at 3 p.m.

As part of National Preparedness Month, we need to remember our pets as part of the preparedness process. In this video, Whitney Kazragis from our emergency management office shares some tips about pet preparedness.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers some fantastic disaster tips along with a list of pet supplies for your emergency kit. In addition, the ASPCA will be hosting a Google+ Hangout for National Preparedness Month on Thursday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m., bringing the biggest names in disaster response together — including FEMA and the USDA — to discuss how pet owners, cities and lawmakers can make sure pets stay safe during disasters. The ASPCA Google+ Hangout will be moderated by ABC News meteorologist Ginger Zee, and it can be viewed at www.aspca.org/mobileapp.

National Preparedness Month - pet preparedness

Remembering 9/11

Posted at 10 a.m.

Today is the anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and in Shanksville, Penn. on Sept. 11, 2001 that killed almost 3,000 people and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage.

As we remember those tragic events and the lives lost — along with the heroic efforts of the first responders and others who leaped into action to help — Deputy County Executive for Public Safety (and former police chief) Dave Rohrer talks about the experience of that day as we reflect on this 13th anniversary of 9/11.

9/11 Memorial Grove

The 9/11 Memorial Grove, located on the grounds of the county’s Government Center is an open space that provides a place to remember and reflect. Feel free to stop by and visit today — or anytime you want to take a moment for reflection.

The grove was the first U.S. memorial commemorating the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, to be built on public space involving federal and local government collaboration with the community in an area where residents were personally affected by the tragedy through loss of life or participation in rescue efforts. It was designed by National Park Service landscape architect and Fairfax County Tree Commissioner Michael McMahon.

“Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery in McLean” Program on Sept. 17

Posted at 2 p.m.

In partnership with the McLean Citizens Association (MCA), our Office of Emergency Management, Police Department, Fire and Rescue Department and Health Department’s Office of Emergency Preparedness are sponsoring “Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery in McLean: What You Can Do.” The event — especially timely since September is National Preparedness Month — will be held Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. at the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave. in McLean.

The program will include panel discussions, focusing on what residents and businesses can do to prepare for and respond to emergencies. Panelists include:

  • David McKernan, coordinator of emergency management, who will talk about preparing for the unexpected by building a resilient community.
  • Fire Chief Richard Bowers Jr. will discuss the fire department’s Safety in Our Community (SIOC) program, aimed at preventing the 9-1-1 call.
  • Marc Barbiere, emergency management coordinator for the Health Department, will present on enhancing nursing home emergency preparedness.
  • Paul Norton, commander of the McLean District Police Station, will inform residents on how to observe, communicate and stay informed during emergencies.

For more information and details concerning this program, contact Patrick Smaldore at 703-528-3935, TTY 711, or by email.

The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) has served since 1914 as an unofficial town council for the residents of the McLean area, which has no governmental structure of its own. MCA provides a forum for McLean residents to discuss ways to resolve community problems and countywide issues affecting the area. The MCA serves as the umbrella organization for homeowner, civic and community associations in the McLean Planning District.

Preparedness Also Means Being Ready While in Your Car

Posted at 11 a.m.

Car preparedness is practical in case you’re stuck in your car because of a major accident or if we ever experience a major snowstorm like a few years ago when many people were stranded in their cars for hours. Be your own hero during National Preparedness Month and be prepared for any emergency you may encounter while on the road.

In the video below, Whitney Kazragis with our emergency management office highlights some of the basic items you’ll want to have with you in your car, truck or SUV.

Always include basic supplies in your vehicle in case of emergency and customize your car kit to meet the specific needs of your family, such as if you have pets or small children, etc.

Learn more about emergency preparedness and making an emergency supply kit at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency.

Ready-Set-Know Festival This Weekend, Sept. 6-7

Posted at 1 p.m.

Members representing various Ready-Set-Know Festivalorganizations of the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council will be hosting Ready-Set-Know Festival this weekend, part of the Burke Centre Fall Festival, Saturday and Sunday Sept. 6-7.

The Ready-Set-Know Festival is being conducted:

  • To increase enrollment in the Citizen Corps Council programs.
  • Teach and demonstrate emergency kit contents.
  • Increase enrollment for Fairfax Alerts.
  • Educate and share planning needs for disasters.
  • Educate residents about what threats and hazards to prepare for.

Activities will include moulage, games and outreach tables. Through interactive stations, the Ready-Set-Know Festival will engage residents in the four major areas of emergency preparedness – make a plan; build a kit; stay informed; and get involved.

There is also an effort to increase interest in the Citizen Corps Council core programs; Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT);  Medical Reserve Corps (MRC); Neighborhood Watch; Volunteers In Police Service (VIPS); and Fire Corps, as well as any of the 16 affiliated organizations. You can sign up when you register for the festival online at http://1.usa.gov/1q565Fg.

If you can’t make the festival, be sure to check out these other events where our emergency management staff will be in case you’d like more information about emergency preparedness and being ready for all hazards.

Emergency Manager Encourages Action During National Preparedness Month

Posted at 2:30 p.m.

Hopefully you have heard that this month is National Preparedness Month. In fact this is the 11th year for the observance, which was created following the terrorist attacks on 9/11 as a way to encourage us to be ready and prepared for any emergency.

David McKernan, our coordinator of emergency management, notes that our area is a “target rich” one for possible terrorist type activity, but that the county’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is most often activated for natural hazards, such as earthquakes, snow, extreme temperatures and flooding events.

He says that National Preparedness Month is a great reminder to set aside a few minutes to review your emergency plans at home and work, as well as restock supplies in your emergency kits at home, work and in your car. And if you don’t have plans or a kit, that now is the perfect time to do so.

 

And preparing, while it sounds intimidating, doesn’t have to be hard. McKernan offers simple advice on how you should proceed to get prepared.

 

He adds that every resident in Fairfax County should also be enrolled on Fairfax Alerts, the county’s way to send emergency alerts and notifications — including severe weather and traffic alerts — to both email and smartphones.

Lots of information and resources are available online, including tips on making an emergency kit and an emergency plan for your family or your business.

If you need more information on emergency preparedness, you can call our emergency management office at 571-350-1000, TTY 711; or email oem@fairfaxcounty.gov.

It’s National Preparedness Month… Are You Ready?

Posted at 11:30 a.m.

According to a 2014 national survey conducted by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 50 percent of Americans have not discussed or developed an emergency plan for family members about where to go and what to do in the event of a local disaster.

The 11th annual National Preparedness Month (NPM) began yesterday (Sept. 1). National Preparedness Month is a time to concentrate attention on the importance of being prepared for any type of emergency. And this year’s NPM also is the first to include the America’s PrepareAthon Fall Day of Action, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Has your family made a plan? If not, use the free resources at ReadyNoVa to make your own family emergency plan or a business emergency plan.

30 Ways in 30 Days30 Ways in 30 Days

As we get underway with National Preparedness Month, we also encourage you to review a list of 30 simple steps you can take to become better prepared with our 30 ways in 30 days. These are simple things you can do — at your own pace — to ensure that you and your family are better prepared by following an easy-to-accomplish checklist.

In addition, our emergency management office will be sharing a video each week this month focusing in more detail on a specific preparedness action you can take. We’ll also feature other articles and resources this month, and what they specifically means for you, your family, your community and your business. Make sure you’ve signed up (at right) to get these by email so you don’t miss anything.

And if you haven’t done so yet, sign up for Fairfax Alerts to receive emergency information via your cellphone or email and stay connected to Fairfax County during emergency events.

Stay tuned for more on emergency preparedness and National Preparedness Month … and make the commitment today to become better prepared for any type of emergency.

National Preparedness Month

Get Your Business Ready For Any Kind of Disaster with Free Webinar Series

Posted at 11 a.m.

national preparedness month business webinarssorry-were-closed-sign

Each year small businesses nationwide are forced to close their doors in the aftermath of severe storms, flooding, tornadoes, wildfires and hurricanes. Business interruptions, even if they last just a few hours, are costly in terms of lost productivity and profits.

You can get help with your own business preparedness planning through a series of free webinars in September hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Agility Recovery. The September series is presented in collaboration with FEMA’s Ready Campaign as part of National Preparedness Month.

The SBA wants to help business owners take charge of the well-being of their own companies, the safety of their employees and the sustenance of their local economies by being prepared to rebound quickly from any kind of disaster.

The half-hour webinars will be presented at 2 p.m., Eastern time, each Wednesday in September. Visit http://snurl.com/296yw4e to register for any or all of the webinars listed below:Prepare my business

  • Sept. 3: Crisis Communications for Any Organization
    Learn best practices for developing an emergency communication strategy.
  • Sept. 10: How to Plan for a Power Interruption…and Recover Fast
    Tips on how to make your company resilient and better prepared to mitigate losses during power outages.
  • Sept. 17: The Top 5 Steps for Preparedness This Year
    The top five ways to prepare for disaster-related business interruptions will be discussed.
  • Sept. 24: If You Do Nothing Else This Year
    Simple, low-cost tips on building a solid business continuity plan.

SBA has partnered with Agility Recovery to offer business continuity strategies through their “Prepare My Business” website. Visit www.preparemybusiness.org to check out the archived webinars and for more disaster preparedness tools.

 

Get Prepared by Attending an Upcoming Community Meeting

Upcoming Fairfax County CAC meetingsPosted at 2:30 p.m.

Join our Office of Emergency Management (OEM) at the upcoming Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) meetings to learn about Fairfax Alerts and emergency preparedness. You’ll also have a chance to win an emergency car kit from State Farm at each meeting held at each of the eight police district stations.

  • Mason District, Sept.2
  • Mount Vernon District, Sept. 9
  • Franconia District, Sept. 17
  • Reston District, Sept. 18
  • Fair Oaks District, Sept. 30
  • West Springfield District, Oct. 7
  • McLean District, Oct. 16
  • Sully District, Nov. 12

CACs enhance communication between residents and our police department and offer you a chance to dialogue with members of your local police district. Members are kept informed about significant safety matters in their neighborhoods and are encouraged to bring any issues or questions to the attention of local police commanders.

If you’re not able to attend one of these specific meetings, OEM will also be at numerous other meetings and events in September (National Preparedness Month). Stop by one if you have the chance, and if you need more details or locations for any of these meetings, contact OEM:

  • Sept. 3 – U.S. Health and Human Services Employee Preparedness Fair
  • Sept. 4 – Fort Belvoir Defense Logistics Agency Preparedness Fair
  • Sept. 6-7 – Ready-Set-Know Festival at the Burke Centre Fall Festival
  • Sept. 8 – Disability Services Board meeting
  • Sept. 10 – U.S. State Department Preparedness Fair
  • Sept. 11 – GMU Service Fair
  • Sept. 15 – U.S. House of Representatives Preparedness Fair
  • Sept. 16 – U.S. Department of Interior Preparedness Fair
  • Sept. 17 – McLean Citizens Association Preparedness Night
  • Sept. 18 – Pentagon Employee Preparedness Fair
  • Sept. 18 – U.S. Office of Personnel Management    Employee Preparedness Fair
  • Sept. 19 – U.S. Senate Employee Preparedness Fair
  • Sept. 22 – Senior Preparedness Fair – Vienna Community Center
  • Sept. 24 – Northern Virginia Community College Zombie Day and Student Preparedness Fair
  • Sept. 25 – Fort Belvoir Defense Logistics Agency Preparedness Presentation
  • Sept. 25 – Citizen Corps Council meeting
  • Sept. 30 – Government Technology and Services Coalition Preparedness Presentation

To learn more about emergency preparedness or having an OEM representative attend your event or give a presentation at your homeowners association or civic association meeting, call 571-350-1000, TTY 711; email oem@fairfaxcounty.gov. You can also get more information online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency.

Why Should I be Prepared for an Earthquake?

Posted at 11 a.m.

Three-year anniversary of Virginia quake serves as reminder to register for Oct. 16 drill

Many of us remember exactly where we were and how we reacted on Aug. 23, 2011 — three years ago today — when an historic 5.8 earthquake centered in Louisa County, Va. knocked homes and buildings from foundations, destroyed schools and even heavily damaged the Washington Monument — proving that earthquakes can (and do) happen right here in Virginia.

“We learned unexpectedly what the safe response to an earthquake is, and it’s not to run outside,” said Jeff Stern, state coordinator of emergency management. “Since the Mineral earthquake, Virginia has participated every year in a multi-state earthquake drill so we all can practice and remember to drop, cover and hold on.”

Southeast Shakeout Drill -- Oct. 16, 2014 at 10:16 a.m.

Earthquake Drill

The Great Southeast ShakeOut multistate earthquake drill, which began in 2012, will be held this year on Thursday, Oct. 16, at 10:16 a.m.

You and your family — as well as your school, business and organizations you belong to — can sign up to participate in the ShakeOut online at www.ReadyVirginia.gov or www.shakeout.org/southeast.

Once registered, you will get information about how to plan a drill and practice the recommended actions should an earthquake occur:

  • Drop to the ground where you are.
  • Take Cover under a sturdy table or desk if possible, protecting your head and neck.
  • Hold on until the shaking stops.

Last year, one million Virginians took part in the Great Southeast ShakeOut. Fairfax County has consistently been at the forefront for participation in each year’s drill. Let’s continue that high level of participation again this year. Register today!

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

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