Listen to the Health and Safety Podcast (Aug. 1 Edition)

Posted at 11 a.m.

On the Aug. 1 edition of the Health and Safety Podcast, learn about getting severe weather alerts by email and text and what you can do to prepare for extreme summertime weather, person-centered care, National Night Out and back-to-school immunizations.

Listen to the podcast below.

Transcript

Keep your summer fun and safe from severe weather or other emergencies. You can get weather and emergency alerts right on your cellphone or tablet. Timely information about weather conditions or emergencies can help you stay safe. Sign up today for weather and emergency alerts through Fairfax Alerts at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts.

Are you ready for extreme weather? Every minute counts during a disaster – plan now so you’re prepared. Know the risks from different weather events that could affect you and your family where you live, work and go to school. Preparedness is a shared responsibility. While government plays a role, there are important things individuals, organizations and businesses can do to be ready for the unexpected. Here are some steps you can take to become better prepared:

  • Sign up for Fairfax Alerts to receive timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events. Text messages will be sent direct to your cellphone. Sign up at www.fairfaxcounty.alerts.
  • Create and test a family communications plan. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area and know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Learn more at www.readynova.org.
  • Document and insure your property. When a disaster strikes, having insurance for your home or business property is the best way to ensure you will have the necessary financial resources to help you repair, rebuild or replace whatever is damaged. Look for homeowners or renters insurance that covers damage caused by floods, high winds from tornados and hurricanes, earthquakes or other concerns.
  • Strengthen your financial preparedness. Collect and secure personal financial, insurance, medical and other records so you have the documentation needed to start the recovery process without delay. Know your disaster costs. More information is online at www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness.
  • Get trained to help others. Minutes matter in a disaster, and if emergency responders aren’t nearby, you can be the help until more help arrives. Learn about Community Emergency Response Teams – CERT – online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov, search “CERT.”

Have you heard the phrase “Person-Centered Care”? If you are looking into care options for an older adult, it’s a good idea to educate yourself. With Person-Centered Care, health practitioners go beyond a person’s medical chart to understand their spiritual, social and holistic needs. This helps them create a plan that is customized to them and takes into account their whole being. Learn more about Person-Centered Care on the Fairfax County Health Department’s Adult Day Health Care website. Go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health and search “adult day health care.”

National Night Out, an annual neighborhood-based crime and drug prevention event, will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 7. Between 6-9 p.m., you are encouraged to lock your doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside together. There will be special events, anticrime rallies, activities for children and police officers will visit as many neighborhood gatherings as possible. It’s a great opportunity to show neighborhood spirit and strengthen partnerships with local police and demonstrate neighborhood commitment to fight crime. Make your plans now to participate. Learn more at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/, search “National Night Out.” And if you’re hearing this after Aug. 7, be sure to check the Fairfax County Police Facebook page for pictures and more information about how you can make your neighborhood a safer place to live.

Make sure your kids are protected before sending them back to school. The Fairfax County Health Department offers school-required immunizations and TB testing for free at their five clinics, and there are even extended hours right before school starts. You can avoid the rush by making an appointment and filling out your paper work ahead of time. In addition to the regular hours of operation, extended walk-in hours are Friday, Aug. 24 from 1-3:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 27 from 1-6 p.m., and Tuesday, Aug. 28 from 8-10 a.m. For more information, including clinic locations, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/immunization.

Finally, save important phone numbers to your phone contacts and be prepared digitally before an emergency or crisis. Find the numbers you need online; just search “hotlines and emergency numbers” at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.

That’s it for this edition of the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast, produced by the Fairfax County, Va., Government. Thanks for listening. Additional information about health and safety topics and emergency preparedness may be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov. And remember, if you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.

Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.

Sales Tax Holiday This Weekend, Aug. 3-5 … It’s the Perfect Time to Prepare for Emergencies

Virginia Sales Tax Holiday 2018

Posted at 2 p.m.

This weekend, Aug. 3-5, is Virginia’s three-day sales tax holiday that starts the first Friday in August at 12:01 a.m. and ends the following Sunday at 11:59 p.m.

During the sales tax holiday you can buy qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, and Energy Star™ and WaterSense™ products without paying sales tax. You can also purchase hurricane and emergency preparedness items without paying any sales tax! And that makes this weekend the perfect time to get prepared — or update your preparedness supplies.

Items to help prepare for and recover from all hazards, including hurricanes, floods and tornadoes include batteries, light sources, radios, miscellaneous items, chain saws, portable generators and Energy Star and WaterSense products.

Specific hurricane preparedness items priced $60 or less per item are eligible, as well as:

  • Portable generators – $1,000 or less per item.
  • Gas-powered chainsaws – $350 or less per item.
  • Chainsaw accessories – $60 or less per item.

Here’s the full list of qualifying hurricane preparedness items. And here’s a detailed list of the qualifying items and more information for retailers from the 2018 Combined Sales Tax Holiday Guidelines.

Emergency Supply Checklist

Once you’ve purchased your supplies, use this checklist (page 2) and guidance from our emergency management office to assemble your emergency supply kit.

Items to consider include:

  • Food and water — at least a three-day supply per person.
  • Pet food and supplies.
  • Infant formula, diapers, etc.
  • Medications for at least a week, a first-aid kit, medical equipment needs.
  • Tools and safety items, such as a flashlight (and extra batteries) and a multipurpose tool.
  • Protective clothing, sturdy shoes, blankets or sleeping bags, etc.
  • Emergency funds.
  • Hygiene and sanitation items, such as toothbrush and toothpaste, antibacterial soap, paper towels, toilet paper and towelettes.
  • Critical paperwork like your driver’s license, proof of residence, household inventory, precriptions or prescription labels.

Cox Customers May Have Trouble Calling 9-1-1

UPDATE (6:15 p.m.): Service has been fully restored for all Cox customers. 

If you have Cox phone service you may experience trouble contacting 9-1-1.  All Fairfax County 9-1-1 functions are in service.

Please use a wireless phone to reach 9-1-1 if you experience trouble.  Text-to-9-1-1 is also available.

The cause of the issue is a Cox Communications service interruption near the area of Georgetown Pike and Bellview Road. There is not an estimated time of repair at this time.

More Rain, Flooded Roads Tuesday Into Wednesday

Posted 10:45 a.m.

As the next wave of rain pours down on us, some roads are flooded in the county.

It may seem obvious, but it’s really important to turn around while driving if you encounter a flooded road. So far today, our Fire and Rescue Department has conducted four water rescues of people trapped in their vehicles in Reston, Annandale and Springfield.

Also, there’s been an uptick in the number of people moving cones and barriers to drive through flooded roads. Please don’t do this — those barriers are there for a reason.

Here’s a list of roads impacted by the storm from our Police Department.

 

Weather Forecast

Flood warnings and watches are in effect for the rest of today and into Wednesday.

Today: Showers and thunderstorms are expected to increase in coverage and intensity early today. This pattern will remain in place through at least Wednesday with multiple rounds of torrential rainfall possible. Although the amount of precipitation has decreased, we still could see between 2”-3” before tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow: The forecast for tomorrow is pretty much the same as today. We will see temperatures in the upper 70’s with periods of heavy rain and the chance of thunderstorms. Rainfall amounts are forecast to be much less and only a chance of 1”, however, that could change with any of the systems that move through a particular area in the county.

 

Trees

Some trees have fallen in the county because of the storms, including a fatality last night that occurred when a tree fell into a home in Burke.

Homeowners and property managers should keep an eye on their trees, checking the base of the trees, when it is safe to be outside, for any signs of the ground beginning to heave at the base of the tree. Saturation from all the rain we have already received, with more rain still to come, and the potential for strong winds in thunderstorms, a few trees may begin to lean and pull roots out of the soil.

4 Things To Know About All This Rain

Posted at 10:50 a.m.

We are on our third straight day of heavy rains in the county and it’s not letting up any time soon. Here are four things you should know.

1.) Flash Flood Watch

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Flash Flood Watch in effect from noon today through tomorrow morning, although it may be extended.

A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts. You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop.

Flood Watch

According to the NWS, there is a possibility of 1 to 3 inches of rain today and an additional 3 to 5 inches on Tuesday. There is also a chance of thunderstorms, which could bring wind gusts of up to 40 to 50 mph.

Please keep children away from creeks and streams as the water may rise quickly.

2.) Turn Around, Don’t Drown

Flooding is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities in the U.S. On average, flooding claims nearly 90 lives each year. More than half of these deaths occur in motor vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways. This happens because people underestimate the force and power of water, especially when it is moving.

  • Just 6 inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry off an adult.
  • 12 inches of water can float a small car. If that water is moving, it can carry that car away.
  • 18 to 24 inches of flowing water can carry away most vehicles, including large SUVs.

It is impossible to tell the exact depth of water covering a roadway or the condition of the road below the water. This is especially true at night when your vision is more limited. It is never safe to drive or walk through flood waters.

Our Fire and Rescue Department has already been responding to calls about stranded motorists.

Any time you come to a flooded road, walkway, or path, follow this simple rule: Turn Around Don’t Drown.

3.) Watch for Downed Trees

The combination of wet soil and potentially heavy wind gusts could cause trees to uproot and fall over. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

If a Tree Hits Your Home

  1. Get everyone safely out of your house. Use your cellphone or go to a neighbor and call 9-1-1.
  2. Go to a nearby shelter (another home or open public facility) to stay dry and out of the elements.
  3. Stay away from the home until public safety employees can access the home for structural stability and ensure utilities are controlled.
  4. Only after all of these safety measures have taken place should you call your insurance company.

For 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.
  • Posing Hazard to Public Areas: Contact Fairfax County Urban Forestry at 703-324-1770, TTY 703-324-1877.
  • On Private Property: Removal is the property owner’s responsibility.

A comprehensive list of who to contact is available online.

4.) Prepare for Power Outages

As the storm continues, you may well find yourself without power. Be prepared and know what to do before your power goes out.

Plan Ahead

  • Keep your digital devices charged!
  • Back up critical files on your computer.
  • Unplug electrical equipment. Spikes and surges could occur as power is restored, damaging equipment.
  • Make sure that your emergency supply kit can be found easily if the lights go out.
  • If you use well water, pre-plan by filling a bathtub with water for use with sanitation, etc.

If Your Power Goes Out

  • Report your outage! Never assume a neighbor has reported it.
    • Dominion Virginia Power: 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), TTY 711; view outage map
    • Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC): 1-888-335-0500 or 703-335-0500, TTY 711; view outage reports
  • Use a flashlight or battery-powered lantern for emergency lighting. Never use candles.
  • Unplug electrical equipment until a steady power supply returns.
  • If you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call or text 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.