County Unveils Community Emergency Response Guide to Assist in Preparedness

Posted at 11 a.m.

The county’s Office of Emergency Management held a press conference yesterday, March 19, to announce a new emergency preparedness guide to encourage residents and businesses to take personal responsibility in preparing for and responding to emergencies and/or disasters within their community.

The guide — the Community Emergency Response Guide, or CERG — has templates to make it easier for residents to create their emergency plans and lays out what to do before, during and after 14 potentials risks in Fairfax County.

The guide is available online or can be viewed in hard copy at all county libraries and district supervisor’s offices, and includes templates that will help residents and business owners develop their emergency plans and community resiliency efforts.

Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Guide

Download your copy of the Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Guide

Watch the full press conference announcing the CERG and read a NewsCenter article on the guide.


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Register Now for Annual Statewide Tornado Drill March 19 at 9:45 a.m.

Posted at 3:30 p.m.

There’s still time to register for Virginia’s annual statewide tornado drill on Tuesday, March 19, at 9:45 a.m. Register at www.vaemergency.gov/tornadodrill.

The drill begins when the National Weather Service will send a test tornado warning over NOAA Weather Radios. This test signal will sound a tone alert, show a test message or flash to indicate a message, simulating what people would hear or see during an actual tornado warning. Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will also broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System.

Learn more online at www.vaemergency.gov/tornadodrill and NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center.

Daylight Saving Time Begins Sunday at 2 a.m.

Daylight Saving Time

Posted at 3:30 p.m.

This weekend — specifically at 2 a.m. tomorrow, Sunday, March 10 — Daylight Saving Time begins. That means getting up to change the time on our clocks and watches, unless all of your clocks are “smart devices” that automatically update. If you’re like most of us though, then you’ll just change the time before you go to bed tonight.

Daylight Saving Time is often confusing. Just remember the old saying, “Spring forward, Fall back,” which means we lose an hour of sleep tonight as we move our clocks forward (spring) one hour.

Don’t Just Change the Time

It shouldn’t take too long to change the time — unless you’re a horologist with a huge collection of clocks — so we’d like to ask you to take a couple of preparedness steps along with changing your clocks.

For years, fire officials have encouraged us to change the batteries in our smoke alarms every six months, and what better reminder than Daylight Saving Time. And according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the March ritual of changing our clocks and smoke alarm batteries is also a great opportunity to review our disaster response plans and restock those emergency supply kits we have in our homes, vehicles and offices.

We’re not saying you have to change the batteries and restock your emergency kits at 2 a.m. tomorrow — but please use Daylight Saving Time as a trigger to help you remember to do these important life-safety tasks before the weekend is over.

So before you go to bed tonight, here’s a checklist to make sure you’re prepared for any possible emergency — as well as not oversleeping:

  • Turn your clocks forward one hour.
  • Change the batteries in your smoke alarms.
  • Check your emergency supply kits (both in the home and vehicles) to make sure they’re fully stocked. If not, make a quick list of what you’ll need to do to get them ready — and then buy those supplies tomorrow or next week.

And for bonus emergency preparedness points, sign up for emergency alerts from Fairfax Alerts.


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Register for the March 19 Statewide Tornado Drill

Virginia Tornado Drill

Posted at 11 a.m.

Did you know that over the last decade, Virginia has averaged 24 tornadoes per year?

Tornadoes may strike quickly, with little to no warning, causing extensive damage to structures and disrupting transportation, power, water, gas, communications and other services in its direct path and surrounding areas.

That’s why Virginia conducts an annual tornado drill. This year’s drill will be held on Tuesday, March 19, at 9:45 a.m.

In recent years, one million Virginians have signed up to participate. Join your neighbors and participate in the annual tornado drill; register at www.vaemergency.gov/tornadodrill.

Then on March 19 at approximately 9:45 a.m., the National Weather Service will send a test tornado warning over NOAA Weather Radios. This test signal will sound a tone alert, show a test message or flash to indicate a message, simulating what people would hear or see during an actual tornado warning. Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will also broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System.

When you hear the test signal, start your drill. As in real life, move to a safe area, crouch as low as possible to the floor, face down and cover your head with your hands.

Safe Shelter

  • If you can safely get to a sturdy building, then do so immediately.
  • Go to a safe room, basement or storm cellar.
  • If you are in a building with no basement, then get to a small interior room on the lowest level.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.
  • Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death.
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle.
  • If you are in a car or outdoors and cannot get to a building, cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body with a coat or blanket, if possible.

Learn more online at www.vaemergency.gov/tornadodrill.


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Increased Number of Traffic Accidents on Area Roads; Stay Home if Possible

Posted at 10:50 a.m.

Public safety officials from Fairfax County, and the region, are reporting an increasing number of traffic accidents on area roadways.

County officials ask residents to please stay home and stay off the roads. Roads are worse than they look, so if you don’t have to be on the roads, don’t!

The National Weather Service reports that Fairfax County has received approximately 3-4 inches of snow so far this morning, with a transition to sleet later. Temperatures, meanwhile, will only rise into the low 30s today. The winter storm warning also remains in effect until 7 p.m. this evening.