Stay Informed, Be Vigilant, Prepare

In the aftermath of this week’s explosions at the Boston Marathon and the reported Ricin-tainted mail to elected officials, you may be wondering what you can do to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones. Officials in the National Capital Region encourage residents to take three simple steps:

  1. Stay Informed
  2. Be Vigilant
  3. Prepare

Stay Informed

First, know that there is no information of any specific threats to Fairfax County or the National Capital Region at this time.  Here are numerous ways to ensure timely receipt when there is emergency information disseminated:

Be Vigilant

Always be aware of your surroundings – from your workplace to your neighborhood to a mall to public transportation. Remember, “If you see something, say something.” 

Write down or save the hotline phone number to report suspicious activities. If you cannot easily locate someone in uniform, call one of the following numbers:

  • Washington, D.C.: 202-962-2121
  • Maryland: 1-800-492-TIPS (8477)
  • Virginia: 1-877-4VA-TIPS (482-8477)

For imminent threats, call 9-1-1.

You can also submit information through online forms through Virginia’s Fusion Center.


Mobile devices are an important way to stay informed and connected before, during and after an emergency. Here are some tips to prepare yourself and your mobile device; more information is online:

  • Communicate with friends and family via text, email, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Texting takes less bandwidth than phone calls and is often the best way to get through to each other in an emergency.
  • Make sure your mobile phone has an electric charger, inverter or solar charger.
  • If you lose power, you can charge your cellphone in your car. Just be sure your car is in a well-ventilated place (remove it from the garage) and do not go to your car until any danger has passed. You can also listen to your car radio for important news alerts.
  • If you do not have a cellphone, keep a prepaid phone card to use if needed during or after a disaster.
  • Save important phone numbers to your phone.
  • Prepare a family contact sheet. This should include at least one out-of-town contact that may be better able to reach family members in an emergency.

You should also prepare simple plans such as a Family Communications Plan and emergency contact cards for your children. Fairfax County residents can also create a family emergency plan or a business emergency plan at

Stay Informed, Be Vigilant, Prepare

This week’s events should remind us all that emergencies can and do occur at any time and in any location. The best thing to do to ensure your safety is to take these simple actions – stay informed, be vigilant and prepare – NOW!

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2 responses to “Stay Informed, Be Vigilant, Prepare”

  1. Shelley Kaufman-Young says :

    Thank you. These are important reminders!

  2. says :

    You might want to think about adding this info to your phone. I tried to register your email as well. Not sure if it went through.


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