Posted at 11 a.m.
Authorities in London are treating a major security incident near the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday as a terrorist attack.
There’s no guarantee you can be 100 percent ready for a terrorist attack, but there are some steps you can take to be much better prepared.
- Sign up for Fairfax Alerts ~ This is the county’s emergency alert system and it will send emergency notifications to your cellphone and email. You can also subscribe for additional alert categories, such as severe weather, severe traffic and even non-emergency notifications such as tax or commuter information.
- Have an Emergency Plan ~ Do you know how to respond if disaster impacts your home or workplace? Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance. If your family is in different locations when the disaster strikes, how will you contact one another? How will you get back together? What will you do in different situations? Making a plan is an essential step in your preparedness efforts — ReadyNOVA.org can help (and it’s free).
- Make an Emergency Kit ~ Everyone should have supplies on hand sufficient for at least three days following an emergency. If you already have an emergency kit, be sure to check and test your supplies periodically. And don’t forget items for your pets, any special needs family members may have, and emergency kits for your office and car.
- See Something. Say Something ~ 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 you see something suspicious in Fairfax County, call 703-802-2746, or the Fairfax County non-emergency line at 703-691-2131, TTY 703-877-3715. In addition, you can submit information through an online form with Virginia State Police.
These are just a few of the steps you can take to be better prepared. For more information, visit our emergency information preparedness page and be sure to follow Fairfax County on our various social media channels so that you can stay informed and be ready to take action.
Another great info source is our “30 Ways in 30 Days” preparedness campaign. Commit to take a few minutes each day for the next 30 days and you and your loved ones will be much better prepared for any challenge that may come your way. Each step on its own is fairly easy and doesn’t take a lot of time, but combine all 30 and you’re well on your way to being ready for any hazard.
Posted at 9 a.m.
Virginia’s Statewide Tornado Drill is this morning, Tuesday, March 21, at 9:45 a.m.
The annual drill is an opportunity to take a moment and think about what you would do during a real tornado — and actually practice those actions.
Do you know what you should do?
If you are in a structure such as your residence, a small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center or high-rise building:
- Go to a pre-designated area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of a small interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- Put on sturdy shoes.
- Do not open windows.
If you are in a manufactured home or office:
- Get out immediately and go to a pre-identified location such as the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
If you are not in a sturdy building, possible actions include:
- Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
- Take cover in a stationary vehicle. Put the seat belt on and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
- Lie in an area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
- In all situations, however:
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
- Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
Learn more about tornadoes and tornado safety from Ready.gov.
Be sure to participate in this morning’s drill — and please register your participation.
After the drill is complete, be sure to register for Fairfax Alerts emergency notifications to your smartphone and email inbox. You can select specialized categories of alerts — be sure to sign up for severe weather alerts!
Posted at 1:30 p.m.
On Feb. 24, 2016, Virginia was hit by the deadliest tornado event since 1959, resulting in five fatalities and more than 45 injuries. An EF-1 tornado touched down on the Town of Waverly in Sussex County, an EF-3 tornado affected Appomattox County, and another EF-3 tornado hit the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck region.
The National Weather Service (NWS) verified that eight tornadoes struck Virginia during that storm. These storms are a stark reminder that Virginians must prepare for the possibility of tornadoes and other natural disasters.
Virginia’s annual Statewide Tornado Drill will take place Tuesday, March 21, at 9:45 a.m.
The drill will start with a test tornado warning sent by the National Weather Service to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios. NOAA weather radios will sound a tone alert and show a test message (or flash to indicate a message) to simulate what people would hear or see during an actual tornado warning. Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System.
The Statewide Tornado Drill is a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.
“Tornadoes can occur any month of the year, and Virginia averages 16 tornadoes each year,” said Bill Sammler of the National Weather Service. “When a tornado watch is issued for your area, know where to seek safe shelter should a tornado warning be issued.”
Show your support by registering for the tornado drill. In recent years, 1 million Virginians have signed up.
For more information about how to keep yourself, your loved ones and property safe during tornadoes, visit www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/threat/tornadoes.
* If widespread severe weather threatens the commonwealth on that date, then the drill will be rescheduled for Wednesday, March 22, at 9:45 a.m.
Fairfax County Government Open With Unscheduled Leave for Employees for Tuesday, March 14; Schools Closed
Posted 4:34 a.m; updated 11:28 a.m.
Government, Schools and Courts
- Fairfax County Government offices will be open on Tuesday, March 14, however employees have been granted unscheduled leave. Emergency service personnel should report as scheduled.
- Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 14. School Age Child Care (SACC) centers will be closed.
- The Fairfax County General District Court, Circuit Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court are open on time.
- There will be no trash, recycling, yard waste or special pickup collection on Tuesday, March 14. Tuesday customers should leave their trash and recycling carts at the curb/street line for us to collect this week. If you receive trash/recycling collection service from a private trash collector please contact them directly.
Parks, Community and Recreation and Community Centers
- If you have questions about Park Authority facilities, contact the site directly, call the Parks inclement weather line at 703-324-8661, TTY 711, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks.
- For Department of Neighborhood and Community Services programs and events visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs or call 703-324-4600, TTY 711.
- The Reston Community Center and the McLean Community Center may be affected by the inclement weather. Call RCC at 703-476-4500, TTY 711, www.restoncommunitycenter.com or MCC at 703-790-0123, TTY 711, www.mcleancenter.org for their current operating status.
Transportation: Connector, Fastran
- Fairfax Connector bus service may be affected by the inclement weather. Check the Connector Web page at www.fairfaxconnector.com for the current operating status.
- For information about FASTRAN, call 703-222-9764, press 8; TTY 711, or online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ncs/fastran.htm.
Public Assistance Lobbies/SkillSource
The Department of Family Services employment/SkillSource centers and public assistance lobbies may be affected by inclement weather. Call 703-324-7500, TTY 711, for the current operating status.
- Library hours may be affected; call your local branch before visiting. For branch phone numbers, call 703-324-3100 or go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library.
- George Mason Regional, Reston Regional and Oakton Library are closed Tuesday, March 14.
View the public meetings calendar at for any potential cancellations of public meetings of Fairfax County government Boards, Authorities or Commissions.
Posted at 3 p.m.
Daylight Saving Time is Sunday, March 12. Be sure to “spring” clocks forward 1 hour before going to bed Saturday, March 11.
A smoke alarm with a dead or missing battery is the same as having no smoke alarm at all. Take care of your smoke alarms according to the manufacturer instructions, and follow these tips:
- Smoke alarm powered by a nine-volt battery. Test the alarm monthly. Replace the batteries at least once every year. Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.
- Smoke alarm powered by a 10-year lithium (or “long-life”) battery. Test the alarm monthly. Since you cannot (and should not) replace the lithium battery, replace the entire smoke alarm according to the manufacturer’s instructions and dispose of it properly at a household hazardous waste site or by sending it back to the manufacturer.
- Smoke alarm that is hardwired into your home’s electrical system. Test the alarm monthly. Replace the backup battery at least once every year. Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.
Replace any of your emergency supplies that will expire within the next six months and use the old supplies before they expire. Some examples of items that can expire are:
- Prescription medications
- First-aid supplies
For more information on emergency supplies, visit www.Ready.gov or www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/prepare/make-a-kit.htm.