Posted at 10:30 a.m.
The Northern Virginia Hazard Mitigation Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from 19 jurisdictions, is in the process of updating the Northern Virginia Hazard Mitigation Plan and having it approved by February 2017 to comply with the five year update cycle required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The 2017 draft Northern Virginia Hazard Mitigation Plan is now available for public review and comment at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/oem/mitigation.
Email any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday, Oct. 2.
Fairfax County is covered under the Northern Virginia Hazard Mitigation Plan that was adopted by the county’s Board of Supervisors in 2012. It has served as a guide for mitigation activities since adoption.
What is Hazard Mitigation Planning?
Hazard mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. It is commonly defined as sustained actions taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards and their effects. Hazard mitigation focuses attention and resources on community policies and actions that will produce successive benefits over time.
Developing hazard mitigation plans enables local governments to:
- Increase education and awareness around hazards, and vulnerabilities.
- Build partnerships for risk reduction.
- Identify long-term, broadly-supported strategies for risk reduction.
- Align risk reduction with other state, tribal, or community objectives.
- Identify implementation approaches that focus resources on the greatest risks and vulnerabilities.
- Communicate priorities to potential sources of funding.
Moreover, a FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan is a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance, including funding for mitigation projects. Ultimately, hazard mitigation planning enables action to reduce loss of life and property, lessening the impact of disasters.
Posted at 9 a.m.
Seeking accurate information for what is occurring in your area is an important part of being prepared. In this video, Seamus Mooney, coordinator of emergency management for Fairfax County, explains why staying informed is so important and he touches on a few of the means of getting information before, during and after an emergency.
There are a number of sources for the most accurate emergency information including:
- Fairfax Alerts (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts) provides notifications for severe weather, severe traffic, emergency events and a variety of non-emergency notices. You can receive messages via telephone, texts and email. Also, you can customize your Fairfax Alerts with the locations you wish to monitor as well as the type of advisories you wish to receive.
- The Fairfax County Emergency Information Blog (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/blog) is the main communications platform before, during and after an emergency.
- Social media accounts for Facebook (www.facebook.com/fairfaxcounty) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/fairfaxcounty) are staffed during emergencies and provide a means to interact and provide community support.
- Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent to your cellphone that warn of severe weather, AMBER alerts for children, and threats to safety. The messages are sent to cellphones in the area affected by the emergency.
- Local radio and television stations are provided the most current information available during times of emergency so be sure to identify those sources that may be most involved in your neighborhood.
- Other sources include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (www.noaa.gov) for weather and the National Terrorism Advisory System (https://www.dhs.gov/national-terrorism-advisory-system) for terrorist threats
All of the listed emergency information sources are free but they do require that you have a device to receive the messages.
Be sure to have battery back-up or other means to keep your cellphones, radios and other communication devices available. During mass power outages, information may be delivered door-to-door, through information distribution centers or at community-level evacuation shelters.
Regardless of what your information source may be, make sure that you’re tuned in for the latest in emergency information.
Learn more at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency.
Posted at 2:15 p.m.
This weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey — as well as the discovery of several unexploded devices — remind us all that we need to remain vigilant and observant of our everyday surroundings.
As we go about our everyday lives, remember that if you see something suspicious or out of the ordinary, say something.
It’s not about paranoia or being afraid. It’s about standing up and protecting our communities…one detail at a time because a lot of little details can become a pattern.
It’s easy to take for granted the routine moments in our every day — going to work or school, the grocery store or the gas station. But your every day is different than your neighbor’s — filled with the moments that make it uniquely yours. So if you see something you know shouldn’t be there — or someone’s behavior that doesn’t seem quite right—say something. Because only you know what’s supposed to be in your everyday.
If there’s an ongoing emergency, call or text 9-1-1.
If you see something suspicious, here’s how to report it:
- Call 703-802-2746.
- Download an app for your phone to easily report something suspicious [iPhone // Android].
- Submit information through an online form.
- You may also call the Fairfax County non-emergency line at 703-691-2131, TTY 703-877-3715.
When reporting suspicious activity, it is helpful to give the most accurate description possible, including:
- Brief description of the activity.
- Date, time and location of the activity.
- Physical identifiers of anyone you observed.
- Descriptions of vehicles.
- Information about where people involved in suspicious activities may have gone.
Posted at 2 p.m.
As standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have insurance for flood damage.
If you live in an area prone to flooding, be sure to take advantage of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Visit www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart for more details, including your flood risk based on address, estimate premiums and more. Also, you can find information and resources covering the different types of property insurance at www.usa.gov/property-insurance.
Posted at 10 a.m.
As we continue to observe National Preparedness Month with a weekly preparedness video, Sulayman Brown from our Office of Emergency Management discusses the importance of having an emergency supply kit — and what kinds of supplies you should have in your kit — at home, at the office and in your vehicles.
- First-aid kit
- Water (one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days)
- Food (at least three-day supply of non-perishable food)
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather radio.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Whistle to signal for help
- Garbage bags and plastic ties
- Duct tape
- Plastic sheeting
- Manual can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
- Cellphone and chargers
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents (insurance policies, identification and bank account records)
- Emergency reference materials (such as first-aid book)
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Change of clothing
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Food supplies, such as mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
- Infant formula and diapers
For additional information about National Preparedness Month and how you can prepare, visit www.Ready.gov.
During September — and throughout the year — the emergency management staff are here to support you and educate the community on preparedness. Call 571-350-1000, TTY 711, or email email@example.com for more information on how you can get better prepared.