Posted at 2:30 p.m.
Of all the weather events that impact Virginia the most, hurricanes top the list. Historical storms like Camille, Fran, Floyd, Isabel, Gaston and Irene are a reminder to inland and coastal residents that significant flooding, damages and loss of life can occur in Virginia.
To emphasize the importance of preparing for hurricane season, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has designated this week, May 22-28, as Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week in Virginia.
Hurricane season starts June 1 and continues through Nov. 30.
Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting (PDF report) a near-average hurricane season for the Atlantic basin with 12 named storms, five to become hurricanes and two to reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.
The National Weather Service (NWS) considers hurricanes among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena. Even when hurricanes make landfall in other states, they can still cause significant damage and loss of life in Virginia. In fact, some of the worst storms in Virginia’s history were from hurricanes that made landfall in other states. Tropical storms or depressions can be just as damaging or deadly as a hurricane.
Learn more about hurricanes and how you can prepare.
Posted at 1 p.m.
This week, May 15-21, is Hurricane Preparedness Week. Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Their impacts can be felt hundreds of miles inland, including dangerous flooding, destructive winds and tornadoes.
Here’s five things you might not know about hurricanes.
Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. Take time now to prepare.
Learn more about hurricanes and follow the daily safety tip from NOAA at www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/hurricane_preparedness.html.
Posted at 2 p.m.
This week, May 1-7, is National Small Business Week — a time designed to recognize the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the United States each year.
Small businesses play such a critical role to our economy; therefore, a plan is key if faced with an emergency. According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster.
You can protect your business by identifying the risks associated with natural and man-made disasters, and by creating a plan for action should a disaster strike. By keeping those plans updated, you can help ensure the survival of your business. Some tips small business owners should consider are:
- Contacting your insurance company to find out your exact coverage.
- Calculating the financial effect (per day) a disaster would have on your business.
- Creating a detailed communication plan for your employees.
It’s time to get prepared!
Twice a year — on April 30 and Sept. 30 — America’s PrepareAthon holds national PrepareAthon Days.
The goal is to build our nation’s resilience by increasing the number of individuals who understand what disasters could happen in their community, know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage, take action to increase preparedness and participate in community resilience planning.
Why is the Prepare-Athon Important and Why Participate?
Between 1900 and 2014, the U.S. experienced 38 earthquakes, 166 floods, 568 storms and 936 tornados. In 2014 alone, there were more than 300 fatalities and more than 2,100 injuries due to weather-related disasters.
Based on a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) national survey, 54 percent of the U.S. population do not believe their community will experience a natural disaster – and less than half of those respondents have a plan they have discussed with their family members.
Research shows that people are more prepared for a disaster if they are aware of community alerts and systems, talk about their preparedness plan with family and others, attend trainings and participate in a drill or exercise. What better way to get started than to participate in this month’s PrepareAthon?
Participation in America’s PrepareAthon is Simple
Everyone can participate including workplaces, schools, houses of worship, community-based organizations, institutions of higher education, as well as individuals and families. Also, participation in America’s PreparAthon can take place anytime throughout the year — just in case you can’t this Saturday.
Visit ready.gov/prepare to learn which hazards can affect your community, review the list of 10 actions and choose a preparedness activity that best fits your hazard. Next, register yourself to be counted.
Once registered, you can download a certificate of participation. Then – congratulations! You, your organization or group has now taken an important step toward preparing for disasters.
Posted at 3:30 p.m.
The second full week of April — April 10-16 this year — is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. It is a time to recognize and honor the thousands of men and women across the country who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance.
We want to take a moment to recognize the hard-working staff of our 9-1-1 Center, Fairfax County’s Department of Public Safety Communications, which was named one of the top 10 9-1-1 Centers of 2015 by the editorial staff at 911DispatcherEDU.org, for going “above and beyond to provide outstanding service.”
That service is provided by the dedicated employees that work at our 9-1-1 Center, who take emergency calls calmly and professionally 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.
These employees are truly the first of the first responders and proudly serve the residents of Fairfax County. They receive approximately 1 million calls per year requesting public safety service and they dispatch units of the Fairfax County Police Department, Fire and Rescue Department and Sheriff’s Office. In addition to Fairfax County, the 9-1-1 Center also is the designated 9-1-1 public safety answering point (PSAP) for the towns of Herndon and Vienna and the City of Fairfax.
The Fairfax County 9-1-1 Center is the largest public safety answering point (PSAP) in Virginia, one of the 10 largest in the United States and is nationally recognized as a “best in class” agency for its public safety telecommunications services, training, technology and policies and procedures.
Fairfax County 9-1-1 … always there … always ready … 24/7/365.
Learn more about 9-1-1 here in Fairfax County online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/911/.