Tornado Exercise Recap Day 2

County staff in the Emergency Operations Center during a tornado exerciseThe second day of the county’s three-day emergency exercise began at 8 a.m. as the focus shifted to recovery and cleanup from yesterday’s devastating fake tornadoes.

As of this afternoon, the emergency exercise has led to these simulated statistics:

  • 49 deaths
  • 595 injuries
  • $19 million in damage to school and county buildings
  • 100 residential and 44 commercial buildings damaged

As time passes from the actual incident, secondary impacts and issues start to become known and we’re addressing them in day 2 into day 3.

Here are five issues to think about today:

1.)    A damaged pump station started to dump raw sewage into Cub Run last night and residents were advised to stay out of Cub Run, Bull Run and Occoquan. While drinking water always remained safe during this exercise, we requested that people minimize water use for drinking, cooking and bathing.

  • Question to consider: Do you have enough bottled water in your home, workplace or elsewhere to last three days?

2.)    Domestic animals were found wandering after the storm. Animal control practiced responding and setting up proper facilities for lost animals.

  • Question to consider: Are your animals properly tagged, immunized and registered?

3.)    Two more shelters opened today bringing the total to five locations where people can stay.

  • Question to consider: Do you have basic supplies like medicines easily accessible in case you need to stay at a shelter?

4.)    Route 28 remained closed due to the bridge collapse over I-66. I-66 was cleared overnight.

  • Question to consider: Have you determined alternative paths around where you live should a major road become inaccessible for long periods of time? Can you telework? Plan ahead to give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination.

5.)    As the recovery phase kicks into full gear, forms become an important tool for people and businesses to start rebuilding. Insurance information is always a key place to start. Insurance policy documents should contain the information to help you determine if you are eligible for compensation for tornado damage and what is covered.

  • Question to consider:  Do you have appropriate coverage for tornadoes? What about other incidents such as fire, flood and terrorism? Do you know the details of your plans?

GIS staff prepare maps during tornado exerciseThis exercise is testing our government response, but as we emphasized before, any response to a calamity such as this fake F4 tornado will require the whole community to partner together. Organizations such as the American Red Cross, Volunteer Fairfax and others are also playing in this scenario testing their plans in coordination with ours.

But most importantly, we need you to be ready; prepare yourself and your family before a tornado (or any threat) hits and be ready to rebuld if it impacts you or your property.

Families and businesses make up the heart of our community and while we will respond as quickly as possible with the resources we have to offer, we’re asking everyone to “play” for real:

As part of this week’s education efforts, more than 1 million Virginians participated in today’s statewide tornado drill. Many people in the county took part, including the Board of Supervisors at its regularly scheduled meeting this morning. After the alert sounded, Chairman Sharon Bulova said:

“While the county government is participating in this drill, I’d also like to encourage our residents to remember to prepare, not only for tornadoes, but for any hazard. Preparedness is a shared responsibility between the government and its residents.” (Read the chairman’s full statement)

About Fairfax County Emergency Information

Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.