Regional Full-Scale Exercise Focuses on Preparing for Complex Terror Attack

Posted at 1:30 p.m.

Law enforcement officials and other first responders from several National Capital Region jurisdictions will participate in a full-scale exercise tomorrow, Wednesday, April 26, designed to prepare for the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack in the region.

The life-like exercise will occur between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. and will include actors posing as casualties. The regional exercise will be staged at six sites in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia, and will involve hundreds of police, fire and emergency medical service personnel and volunteer actors.

The locations include neighborhoods in Fairfax, Prince George’s and Arlington Counties, as well as the Northeast and Southeast quadrants of the District of Columbia. Fairfax County’s exercise site is the former Lorton Reformatory prison site.

There is no reason for alarm if you observe increased public safety personnel in the area of any of the exercise activity.

“We’ll stage a very realistic emergency event involving multiple sites and actors posing as the casualties,” said Scott Boggs, managing director of Homeland Security and Public Safety at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). “However, there is no reason for residents to be alarmed because the exercise will occur in a controlled environment.”

Emergency managers who work together at COG planned the exercise to help protect residents by preparing for an attack involving multiple target locations and teams of perpetrators.

It’s National Public Safety Telecommunicator’s Week

Posted at 11:50 a.m.

National Public Safety Telecommunicator’s Week, created in 1981, is celebrated every year during the second full week of April. This year it’s April 9-15.

In this video, Bill Kang, director of the county’s Department of Public Safety Communications — the 9-1-1 Center — explains what this week is about and what telecommunicators at the 9-1-1 Center do.

The Fairfax County 9-1-1 Center is holding several events this week, including the 12th annual DPSC Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center (MPSTOC), 4890 Alliance Drive, Fairfax.

Years of service awards and staff promotions will be presented, along with other honors such as the Excellence in Call Taking award, Rookie of the Year award, Meritorious Action, Fairfax County 9-1-1Director’s Commendations and more.

Hopefully you’ll never need to call or text 9-1-1, but if you should, they are there to assist you 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Public Safety Agencies Say Thanks to Our 9-1-1 Center Staff

Posted at 1:30 p.m.

Today starts National Public Safety Telecommunicator’s Week (April 9-15) across the country.

Public safety personnel from our Police Department, Sheriff’s Office and Fire and Rescue Department take a moment to say thanks to the staff of the county’s 9-1-1 Center — Fairfax County’s public safety telecommunicators — the first of the first responders who are always there, always ready, 24/7, 365 days a year.

The Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) — Fairfax County 9-1-1 Center — is a nationally recognized public safety communications center, the largest in the commonwealth of Virginia and one of the 10 largest in the United States.

They receive approximately 1 million calls requesting public safety service per year and dispatch units of the Fairfax County Police Department, Fire and Rescue Department and Sheriff’s Office. In addition to Fairfax County, DPSC is the designated 9-1-1 public safety answering point (PSAP) for the towns of Herndon and Vienna and the City of Fairfax located within the county.

In addition to calling 9-1-1 in times of emergency, you can also text to 9-1-1 should calling be dangerous or unavailable.

Weather Update

Posted at 2:20 p.m.

The National Weather Service reports that the tornado warning is no longer in effect.

Fairfax County public safety officials are reporting several reports of trees falling into home as well as multiple reports of wires down. In all cases, you should 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.

If a Tree Hits Your Home

  1. Get everyone safely out of your house. Go to a nearby shelter (another home or open public facility) to stay dry and out of the elements.
  2. Use your cellphone or go to a neighbor and call 9-1-1.
  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 near roads or not into a home:

  • 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.

Power Outages

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.

In addition, follow these safety tips:

  • Use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Never use candles.
  • Unplug electrical equipment until a steady power supply returns.
  • Practice proper generator and surface heater safety.
  • Leave one light turned on so you know when power is restored.
  • If traffic lights are on flash, treat a flashing red as a stop (treat it like a stop sign). For flashing yellow, proceed with caution.

Several roadways throughout the county are also flooded and closed at this time. Please remember that if you encounter road covered roadways to turn around, don’t drown.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning Issued Until 2 p.m.; Tornado Warning for Northwestern Fairfax County

Posted at 1:30 p.m.

A low pressure system is forecast to cross the area today bringing us the possibility of severe weather this afternoon — strong straight line winds, isolated tornadoes and hail are possible.  This will then be followed by a cold, high pressure system with temperatures dropping overnight.

Currently the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for our area until 2 p.m. and has just issued a Tornado Warning for Northwestern Fairfax County, also until 2 p.m. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch remains in effect until 5 p.m.

Please remain weather aware as conditions can change rapidly as the warm, low pressure system moves out and is replaced by the cold, high pressure system.