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Seminar and Exercise Program to Address Community Disaster Preparedness

Posted at 2 p.m.

Volunteer Fairfax and Faith Communities in Action held a Community Collaboration for Disaster Resiliency Summit earlier this year. Organizations such as faith and community-based organizations, disaster volunteer groups, residential management groups, civic associations and representatives from the private, public and nonprofit sectors involved with disaster recovery attended.

We all know that in times of disaster, we can’t recover without community support. So in an effort to continue the conversation started earlier this year with the summit, Volunteer Fairfax received funding to conduct a pilot program in the Mason, Braddock and Sully Districts.

As part of this pilot, an educational seminar and practice exercise will be held in each of these districts as an opportunity for local community partners to meet and better understand how we can best work together in response to a disaster.

Mason District Seminar

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 29
Time: 5-8 p.m.
Location:  Annandale United Methodist Church, 6935 Columbia Pike, Annandale

Mason District Exercise

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 3
Time: 5-8 p.m.
Location: Heritage Center, conference rooms C & D, 7611 Little River Turnpike, Annandale

Leaders and decision-makers at area community-based organizations, local nonprofits, faith-based groups, homeowners associations, PTAs and first responders should attend. There is no cost to attend and dinner is even included. If your organization serves this region, we welcome you to join the conversation and attend.

If you need more information — or if your organization serves the Braddock or Sully Districts — contact Tracy Friend with Volunteer Fairfax for more details.

 

Get Ready to ShakeOut!

Posted at 8:30 a.m.

Get ready… it’s almost time!

The Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill begins today at 10:16 a.m. and you can participate where ever you might be. The earthquake drill is a great time to practice the actions you should take during a real earthquake — drop, cover and hold on:

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you).
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table.
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

Earthquakes happen without warning, and the shaking may be so severe that you cannot run or crawl. So drop, cover and hold one immediately.

Get ready to practice at 10:16 a.m. and take part in the Great Southeast ShakeOut. Learn more at www.ReadyVirginia.gov or www.shakeout.org/southeast.

National Capital Region Ebola Update

Posted at 3:25 p.m.

There are no cases of Ebola in the National Capital Region. However, measures are in place to effectively deal with an Ebola infected person if one were to arrive in the region. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the top health officials in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia have said the risk of Ebola spreading widely in the United States is low.

Enhanced Screening at Dulles International Airport to Begin on Thursday, Oct. 16

Travelers from the Ebola-affected countries entering the U.S. through Dulles International Airport and four other U.S. airports (New York’s JFK, Newark, Chicago-O’Hare and Atlanta international airports) will receive enhanced entry screening. Screening begins at Dulles tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 16. This screening means that travelers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone will:

  • Receive information about Ebola, its symptoms, what to do if symptoms develop and information for doctors if travelers need medical attention.
  • Be asked to answer questions to determine their risk of infection, have their temperatures taken and be observed for other symptoms of Ebola.
  • If symptoms exist, be referred to CDC officials on site for further evaluation.

As a result of this process, CDC officials at the airport will determine whether a traveler:

  • Can continue to travel.
  • Should be taken to a hospital for evaluation, testing and treatment.
  • Is referred to a local health department for further monitoring and support.

This enhanced screening of those entering the U.S. from the affected countries in West Africa will support the surveillance and monitoring already in place throughout the region at hospital emergency rooms and other health facilities.

The Ebola virus is transmitted through close contact with an infected patient’s blood or bodily fluids.  For more detailed information about the disease, visit the CDC website, www.cdc.gov, and review the Frequently Asked Questions about Ebola on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments website.

facts about ebola (CDC)

Great Southeast ShakeOut Earthquake Drill is Two Weeks Away; Are You Registered Yet?

Great Southeast ShakeOut Oct 16, 2014

Posted at 1 p.m.

Wherever you are two weeks from now (home, school, work or play) – on Thursday, Oct. 16 – you can learn about earthquake safety by joining in the Great Southeast ShakeOut, a multi-state earthquake drill set for 10:16 a.m. Register now to participate in the ShakeOut and learn how to drop, cover and hold on:

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you).
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table.
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

Earthquakes happen without warning, and the shaking may be so severe that you cannot run or crawl. So drop, cover and hold one immediately. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building, and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not try to run to another room to get under a table.

Also, during an earthquake, don’t run outside. Trying to run is dangerous because the ground is moving and you can easily fall or be injured by falling bricks, glass and other building materials. You are much safer to stay inside and get under a table.

If you can’t participate Oct. 16, hold an earthquake drill for your family, workplace, organization or school anytime through Dec. 31, and you can still register your participation in the ShakeOut.

Last year more than one million Virginians took part in the Great Southeast ShakeOut. Learn more and sign up for the Oct. 16 earthquake drill at www.ReadyVirginia.gov or www.shakeout.org/southeast.

 

Video: ReadyNoVa Website Offers Emergency Planning Tool

Posted at 3:30 p.m.

ReadyNoVa.orgNational Preparedness Month — September — ends today, but that doesn’t mean that your efforts to be prepared for any emergency should too.

A key component to having your family ready for all hazards is to have a family emergency plan. But how do you prepare one?

Luckily for us here in Northern Virginia, there is a website — www.readynova.org —  that was developed to assist residents and business owners in Northern Virginia in developing a family emergency plan or a business emergency plan.

In the video below, Bruce McFarlane with our emergency management office has more on ReadyNoVa.org.

McFarlane adds that the site follows basic and accepted emergency management practices and that both planners provide an easy-to-use tool in developing your emergency plan.

 

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.

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