Archive by Author | Fairfax County Emergency Information

Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Stay Informed

Posted at 1 p.m.

September is National Preparedness Month. In this video, Dave McKernan, our emergency management coordinator, encourages you to be prepared for any hazard. This includes getting the necessary training, plans and information needed to stay safe.

Take these simple steps to being better prepared: Get a kit, make a plan and stay informed — and sign up for Fairfax Alerts at

Text to 9-1-1 Launches in Fairfax County

9:25 a.m.

This morning, Fairfax County’s 9-1-1 Center began accepting text to 9-1-1 calls for service. Fairfax County is the first jurisdiction in Northern Virginia – and one of the largest 9-1-1 Centers in the country – to implement this service.

Text to 9-1-1 is available within Fairfax County and the Towns of Herndon, Vienna, Clifton and the City of Fairfax.  The service is set up to operate similar to the way 9-1-1 voice calls are handled.  A text to 9-1-1 call will generally route the same way a voice call to 9-1-1 is routed.

Text to 9-1-1 is intended primarily for use in three emergency scenarios:

  • For an individual who is deaf, hard-of-hearing or has a speech disability.
  • For someone who is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1.
  • A medical emergency that renders the person incapable of speech.

In this video, Steve Souder, director of our 9-1-1 Center, explains what text to 9-1-1 is and how it benefits the residents of the county.

Voice calls are the best and preferred method for contacting 9-1-1. However, remember this important phrase: Call if you can. Text if you can’t.

text to 9-1-1 logo

If text to 9-1-1 is not available in your area, users should receive a message indicating that text to 9-1-1 is not available and to contact 9-1-1 by phone.

  • As with all text messages, 9-1-1 text messages can take longer to receive, may be delivered out of order, or may not be received at all.
  • Text to 9-1-1 is not available if you are in a “roaming” situation.
  • A text or data plan is required to place a text to 9-1-1.
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
  • Text to 9-1-1 cannot include more than one person. Do not copy your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1. Wait until you are safe to notify others of your situation.
  • Do not text and drive.

Learn more online at


National Preparedness Month Flood Safety Information

Posted at 2:30 p.m.

This is National Preparedness Month. During the month, our Office of Emergency Management is sharing news and tips about ways you can help stay safe during all types of emergencies.

Today, Dean Sherick, community outreach liaison, discuss flood safety. Flooding is one of those hazards that can happen at any time and anywhere, so this is an important video to watch.

Get more flood safety information on our emergency Web page and be sure to check out our 30 ways to prepare tips for some quick and easy steps you can take to be prepared for any emergency.

Free National Preparedness Month Webinar Series

Posted at 10:15 a.m.

Did you know that nearly 70 percent of all U.S. businesses will lose power at one point in the next 12 months? Do you have a plan in place to keep your operations running? How will you rebuild your business if your employees are unable to report to work after a major disaster? Is your organization prepared to communicate quickly and effectively with each other when a crisis hits?

Having a business continuity plan is essential to establishing a successful and resilient small business. The cost of creating a disaster preparedness plan is small compared to the financial losses that may occur if there’s no plan in place.

You can get help with your own preparedness planning through a series of free webinars this month hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery. The series is presented in collaboration with FEMA’s Ready Campaign, during National Preparedness Month (NPM). The 2015 NPM theme is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan Today.”

The 30-minute webinars will be presented at 2 p.m. EDT each Wednesday in September.

  • Sept. 9: “The Keystone to Disaster Recovery: Communications”
  • Sept. 16: “Recover from the Most Likely Disaster: Power Outage”
  • Sept. 23: “Protect Your Most Valuable Asset: Prepare Your Employees”
  • Sept. 30: “If You Do Nothing Else this Year…” Simple tips to build your organization’s resilience

To register for any of the webinars, go to

Did You Know That National Preparedness Month Starts Today?

Published at 11:30 a.m.

National Preparedness Month, which begins today, highlights hazard-focused themes leading up to the National PrepareAthon! Day on Wednesday, Sept. 30. During the month, FEMA and our emergency management office will be focusing on several specific hazards, encouraging us to be better prepared for them and offering suggestions on steps to take to be ready.

Over the course of the month, we’ll focus on flooding, hurricanes and power outages — all real events that can happen here and to any one of use at any time.

The overall theme for this year’s preparedness month is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”

Throughout September, we encourage you to take part in preparedness activities and events, know what to do during an emergency and most importantly, make a plan. This means having an up-to-date contact list for those you may need to reach during a disaster and establishing alternate methods of communication in case traditional means are not available.

Don't Wait. Communicate. National Preparedness Month 2015


As we begin our focus on preparedness this month, one of the first steps you should take is to make an emergency plan. FEMA has emergency plan templates on its website that you can use. In addition, our emergency management office partnered with other emergency management agencies in Northern Virginia to createMake a Plan at, a website where you can create your family emergency plan online, save it to your personal computer or mobile device and print it out and keep it with you so you’ll have it when you need it. And the ReadyNOVA site will not save any of your personal information.

We realize that there are special months, weeks and days celebrated and recognized every day of the year and that National Preparedness Month might get lost in all the advertising of other special months, like Eat Chicken Month, Happy Cat Month, National Honey Month, National Mushroom Month, Update Your Resume Month, National Coupon Month and Shameless Promotion Month.

However… and we recognize the fact that we’re a little biased… the importance of making an emergency plan to prepare yourself and your family in case of an emergency seems a tad bit more important than some of these other recognitions, although we do like honey, chicken, mushrooms and saving money with coupons.

So make your emergency plan today (if you have one, update it) and stay tuned throughout the month for more on being prepared for any emergency. And for you over achievers looking to do more, use the 30 ways in 30 days preparedness tips.


CERT Training Offered This Fall

Posted at 1:45 p.m.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and also trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.

With this training, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available.

CERT-logoFairfax County is offering four CERT training classes this fall.

  • CERT Class 100 at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy
    Monday, Wednesday, 9/14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30 and 10/5 — 7-10:30 p.m.
  • CERT Class 101 at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy
    Monday, Wednesday, 10/14, 19, 21, 26, 28, 11/2  and 11/4 — 7-10:30 p.m.
  • CERT Class 102 at the Old Firehouse Teen Center
    Tuesday, 9/22, 29, 10/6, 13, 20, 27 and 11/3 — 7-10 p.m.
  • CERT Class 103 at the Lorton Volunteer Fire Department
    Wednesday, 9/23, 30, 10/7, 14, 21, 28, 11/4 and 11/11 — 7-10 p.m.

CERT training does not require any special physical strength or agility and is free. The CERT program also provides personal protective equipment for the training that students keep.

Those who go through CERT training have a better understanding of the potential threats to their home, workplace and community and can take the right steps to reduce the effects of hazards.

Click here and search “CERT” to find out more about the classes, when and where they will be held, and to register. To learn more about the CERT program, visit

Emergency Management Internship Applications Due Aug. 21

Posted at 10 a.m.

OEM logoAre you studying emergency management or know someone who is?

Our Office of Emergency Management is now accepting applications — until Aug. 21 — for its fall internship program.

The office offers several unpaid internship positions and is seeking applicants with the following skills and interests:

  • Emergency training and exercises.
  • Writing.
  • Marketing and communications.

Internship positions are best suited for undergraduates, graduate students or recent graduates with a background in emergency management, homeland security, public safety, public administration, public relations or communications. The ideal candidate should also have a strong interest in the field of emergency management.

Interns are required to commit at least 15-20 hours per week during the regular business hours of Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Interns may be asked to work outside of normal business hours for special events or during a disaster response when the Emergency Operations Center is activated.

More information and position descriptions can be found at

Save During the Virginia Sales Tax Holiday Weekend, Aug. 7-9

Posted at 10 a.m.

Beginning this Friday, Aug. 7, and ending on Sunday, Aug. 9, Virginia will hold a sales tax holiday.

Back-to-school supplies such as clothes, backpacks, pens, pencils, binders and pads can be purchased tax-free, in addition to energy efficient appliances. Emergency preparedness supplies like flashlights, weather radios, fire extinguishers, batteries and first-aid kits also are available for tax-free purchase.

So get ready for school – and be prepared for any emergency – during the Sales Tax Holiday weekend, Aug. 7-9.

Check out this video from our emergency management office with more details on how you can save money this weekend just by getting prepared for any type of emergency.

Visit for more on the tax holiday and what qualifies for a tax-free purchase.

Are You Registered for Fairfax Alerts?

Posted at 10 a.m.
Fairfax Alerts Blog Box
Fairfax Alerts
is Fairfax County’s way of sending you emergency alerts, as well as severe traffic and weather alerts, right to your smartphone and email inbox.

Check out this video showing just one way that Fairfax Alerts can make a positive impact in your life.

Sign up for alerts today at

9-1-1 Center Recognized for Training Program

Posted at 1:30 p.m.

Did you know when you call our 9-1-1 center, that you are reaching one of the best trained centers in the country?

The county’s 9-1-1 Call Center, also called the Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC), has met the training standards for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International Agency Training Program Certification.

Only 52 of the more than 6,100 U.S. public safety communications centers have reached this plateau of achievement and excellence. This marks the second time DPSC has earned this distinction.

Public safety agencies utilize the APCO International training certification program as a formal way to ensure their training programs meet national standards.

In the video below, Steve Souder, director of the 9-1-1 Center, and Tammy Murcek, training and career development manager, explain the training program and the certification.

“The Department of Public Safety Communications has shown dedication to their community and those they serve by renewing their certification,” noted APCO President John Wright.

The APCO certification was effective July 2. The center will be recognized on Aug. 19 during APCO’s 81st Annual Conference & Expo in Washington, D.C.

Learn more about the county’s 9-1-1 Center.


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